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ST. 



BASIL WILBERFORCE 

A MEMOIR 



WORKS BY 
THE RIGHT HON. G. W. E. RUSSELL 



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BASIL WILBERFORCE 

A MEMOIR 



BY THE RIGHT HON. 
GEORGE W. E. RUSSELL 



In this world we believe in part and prophesy in part, 
and this imperfection shall never be done away till we be 
transplanted to a more glorious state. JEREMY TAYLOR. 



117101 



LONDON 

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W. 
1917 



LIBRARY ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 



TO 

H. W. W. AND V. M. K. 

FEOM 

G. W. E. R. 



"THINE OWN FRIEND, AND THY FATHER'S FRIEND, 
FORSAKE NOT." 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGS 

I. BEGINNINGS ...... 1 

II. ST MARY'S 26 

III. TEETOTALISM ...... 49 

IV. BKOADLANDS . .... 62 
V. POLITICS . ..... 76 

VI. ILLNESS. . ... 84 

VII. WESTMINSTER ...... 96 

VIII. MINISTRY 112 

IX. BEREAVEMENT . ... 125 

X. SUNSET . ..... 137 

APPENDICES 143 



B 



BASIL WILBERFORCE 



CHAPTER I 

BEGINNINGS 

" I DEEM it to be my greatest boast to be 
sprung from one who, gifted with the vastest 
opportunities, with the friendship, the closest 
friendship, of England's greatest Minister, the 
highest powers, the most commanding social 
position, used them all for no personal aggrandise- 
ment, and died a poorer man than when he 
entered public life, seeing every one of his 
contemporaries raised to wealth and hereditary 
honours ; leaving his children no high rank or 
dignity, according to the notions of this world, 
but bequeathing to them the perilous inherit- 
ance of a name which the Christian world 
venerates." 

The foregoing words were spoken by Samuel 
Wilberforce, Bishop successively of Oxford 
and of Winchester, with reference to the great 
Emancipator, whose third son he was. 

Samuel Wilberforce, born in 1805, married 
in 1828 Emily Sargent, daughter, and in her 



2 BEGINNINGS 

issue heir, of the Rev. John Sargent, Squire 
and Rector of Lavington, near Petworth. 
They had six children, of whom the youngest 
the subject of this Memoir was born on the 
15th of February 1841. 

Samuel Wilberforce was at this time Arch- 
deacon of Surrey and Canon of Winchester, 
and it was in the Close at Winchester that his 
youngest child was born. On the 16th of 
February he wrote thus to a friend : " God 
has again been gracious to us. ... About half- 
past two, Emily rejoiced over a little boy, 
whose fat, vigorous looks spoke of the fullest 
health and strength." But already there was 
illness in the home, and the father's joy was 
tempered by anxiety. It was discovered, too 
late, that the main drain of the city ran under 
his official house, and his only daughter 1 was 
attacked by fever. " We cannot," he wrote, 
"but be in very great anxiety about her." She 
recovered, and lived to a great age ; but the 
young mother contracted the same disease, and 
died on the 10th of March. "A day of 
unknown agony to me. Every feeling stunned. 
Paroxysms of convulsive anguish, and no power 
of looking up through the darkness which had 
settled on my soul." : 

Mrs Wilberforce was buried at Lavington 
on the 17th of March, and two days later the 
bereaved father baptized the child in Winchester 

1 Afterwards Mrs Pye. 

2 From Bishop Wilberforce's diary. 



"THE ROBE OF POWER" 3 

Cathedral. There were four sponsors the third 
Lord Calthorpe ; the Rev. R. C. Trench, after- 
wards Archbishop of Dublin ; Mrs Ryder, sister 
of Mrs Wilberforce ; and Miss Olivia Way. 
The child was called Albert Basil Orme. The 
name Albert had a double allusion to Prince 
Albert, who had just made Archdeacon Wilber- 
force his chaplain, and to Albert Way of 
Stanstead, the Archdeacon's early friend. Orme 
was the name of the family from which the estate 
of Lavington had immediately descended to the 
Sargents ; and it is reasonable to connect the 
name Basil with the great Father of the Fourth 
Century. 

Mr Trench's poem, written on the occasion 
of the baptism and addressed to his godson, 
may be inserted here : 



Child of my spiritual love ! others I claim, 
Nor are they not unto my spirit near, 
While they, too, bear for me this holy name, 
And by its right are dear : 
And yet they do not stir for me, as thou 
Stirrest the fountains of my bosom now. 



n. 

For memory guardeth yet, 
And will in holiest places guard, the hour 
When first beside that sacred font we met, 
And on thy forehead meek the seal was set, 
And given the robe of power. 



BEGINNINGS 

in. 

Beneath my feet he lay 

His little mouldering clay, 

So lately to the heartless earth consigned, 

Even his, for ever dear, the first who came 

To bid me know what meant a father's name, 

With a child's love about my heart to wind. 1 



IV. 

And all around me did a frequent band 

Of newer mourners stand : 

For thou, unconscious child, hast yet to learn 

That it was at thy birth 

As if a star had quitted earth, 

Thee clothing in its radiance mild, 

And in a splendour undefiled, 

But never more in our dim air to burn. 



V. 

Oh then, dear child, be thou for ever strong, 
As one who for these dearest issues came 
Into this world, as one to whom belong 
The glory and the burden of a name, 
Thy sire's and grandsire's ; ample be thy dower ! 
And all thy life the unfolding, hour by hour, 
Of what was at that font made thine of grace and 
power. 

Basil Wilberforce was accustomed, all 
through his life, to say that his father had 
been father and mother in one to him, as 

1 Two months earlier Mr Trench had lost a child, who 
was buried in Winchester Cathedral. 



" BENONI " 5 

also to his sister and elder brothers ; and the 
Bishop's diaries and letters abundantly confirm 
the testimony. 1 " I can hardly bear," he wrote, 
" to look at the children, the youngest Basil 
especially, without tears " ; and to Basil he 
referred repeatedly as "my Benoni, the child 
of woe." Great as a father's devotion may 
be, nothing can ever compensate for the loss 
of a mother's influence ; but whatever could be 
supplied by care and affection was supplied to 
the Bishop's children by their grandmother, Mrs 
Sargent, who, after Mrs Wilberforce's death, 
made her ho % me with her son-in-law, and helped 
him with unselfish tenderness till her death in 
1861. " Mrs Sargent," he said, " gives these chil- 
dren a watchful, elastic, affectionate care, which 
is continually exciting my absolute wonder." 

In 1844 he wrote : " Basil is a most beloved 
boy. Ella 2 took care of him this evening, to let 
the maids go to church, and said that he sat 
talking to himself over his toy-animals. ' This 
poor elephant is rather cold. Now this naughty 
hyaena' (he always made the hysena naughty) 
'must stand shivering with cold when the 
others go to bed, because it has been so quarrel- 
some and disobedient.' ' Again in 1847 : " Basil 
is so sensible, and able to do anything he likes. 
Beloved boy, how he would have been visibly 

1 Archdeacon Samuel Wilberforce was made Dean of 
Westminster in 1845 ; Bishop of Oxford in the same year ; 
and Bishop of Winchester in 1869. He died in 1873. 

* Emily Charlotte Wilberforce, afterwards Mrs Pye. 



6 BEGINNINGS 

beloved ! I feel to owe him a double share 
of love." But later we find: "How hard a 
boy he is to manage ! Lord, help me in doing- 
it. Yet he is full of affection." 

In March 1853 the Bishop writes in his 
diary : " A letter telling me that beloved Basil 
has congestion of the left lung. Most deeply 
wounded. That boy at this season my 
beloved boy, my Benoni." On the following 
day : " A favourable report of Basil. Oh, may 
God continue it. I woke constantly in the 
night to think of him and pray for him." 

Although the Bishop was the most devoted 
of fathers, it was impossible for him to see as 
much of his children as he would have wished ; 
for his characteristic was ubiquity. He was 
comparatively little at home, and was per- 
petually moving about his diocese, with frequent 
excursions to the remotest parts of the United 
Kingdom, and not seldom to the Continent. 
The elderly and sorrow-stricken grandmother 
could scarcely be expected to cope with four 
vigorous and high-spirited boys ; and the 
Bishop's sons were early despatched to a private 
school, which it would be unfair to particularize. 
A man who was a pupil there, and rose to 
eminence in political life, supplies the follow- 
ing note: "The Wilberforces left a general 
tradition of lawlessness, the fame of which 
had not died out even in my time. Basil 
Wilberforce told me, when he was Chaplain 
to the Speaker, that even down to the time 



ETON 7 

at which he was speaking, whenever he had 
a nightmare or a bad dream, he was always 
pursued by the dread figure of our tyrant, 
the Rev. X.Y.Z., who, when the wind was 
in the east and his liver out of order, could 
be a perfect devil ; though at other times 
pleasant enough." 

From this place of torment (on which he 
always looked back with horror) Basil Wilber- 
force was transferred to Eton in the summer 
school-time of 1854. He boarded at the house of 
the Rev. Russell Day, who was also his tutor, 
and afterwards with the Rev. W. A. Carter. 
Some extracts from his letters to his father 
may be here inserted, and they are eminently 
characteristic of his special hobbies : 

" Do you remember saying that when I was 
sent up for good you would give me a parrakeet ? 
Now it is quite impossible for me to be sent up 
for good in my present division, because we 
have got so very many Tugs 1 in our division. 
If they were out of the way I might have a 
chance. I have got my eye upon a lovely 
parrakeet that does all sorts of tricks ; its price 
is 30s. I have got 10s. left of my own, with 
which, if you should think right to send me the 
rest, would just be right, but after what you told 
me at Lavington 2 I would rather see all the 

1 Collegers. 

2 The Bishop had acquired the estate of Lavington by 
the death of Mrs Wilberforce's two brothers. It was his 
home, as distinct from his official residence at Cuddesdon. 

C 



8 BEGINNINGS 

parrots at the bottom of the Red Sea sooner 
than that you should send me money that you 
want, you dear. There would be no fear of his 
interfering with my lessons like a lot of canaries, 
because he makes no noise." In another letter 
he begs his father to send his "poor old 
Cockatoo," killed by his fox, to the Eton bird- 
stuffer. He has had a deal in animals with a 
school-fellow, " who has promised to give me a 
very handsome almond tumbler pigeon for the 
fox, which will be (as almond tumblers are very 
scarce) a jolly exchange." 

Another request is : "If you can manage to 
find that rod you spoke of, I should be delighted 
to have it here. I am completely destitute of 
all sorts of rods, and I am very fond of fishing." 
He also demands " a reel and fly-line." " I find 
my new Fifth Form work uncommonly hard, 
but as I work like a horse at it, I get on 
very well considering. ... I am completely 
penniless, but I don't care a rap about that 
so as I have a rod and line to fish with." 

We must now turn to the Bishop's side of 
these experiences. On the 21st of November 

1855 he writes in his diary : " Saw Basil, and 
R. Day, who recommends Basil leaving Eton." 
On the 5th of December : " A most unsatis- 
factory talk with Day." On the 16th of January 

1856 : " Eton. Saw Carter, who agreed to take 
Basil to try him." Idleness was the gravest fault 



THE FIRST COMMUNION 9 

alleged ; but this proved to be inveterate. 
At the end of Lent school-time 1856, Basil 
Wilberforce left Eton, and went as a private 
pupil to the Rev. James Fraser, then Vicar 
of Cholderton and afterwards Bishop of 
Manchester. 

At this point the Bishop's spirits, which 
were essentially mercurial, began to revive. 
On the 30th of April 1856 he wrote : " Full of 
gratitude as to my children. Ernest 1 and Bas 
promising." On the 29th of July Basil was 
confirmed by his father, and on the 17th 
of August the Bishop wrote in his diary : 
"Prayed with dear Basil before his first Com- 
munion. Service at Graffham. 2 All my three 
boys (D.G.) there." 

On the 9th of September he wrote : " A 
sad parting with dear Basil, for I know not 
how long." Returning from a trip on the 
Continent, Basil was transferred to another 
tutor ; in 1857 to a third ; and in 1859 to a 
fourth the Rev. Lewis M. Owen at Col- 
chester. The Bishop writes thus to his eldest 
surviving son : 

" Ernest and Bas are just now fishing in 
Devonshire with Ernest's old tutor, Owen, to 

1 Ernest Roland, afterwards Bishop of Newcastle and of 
Chichester, was the Bishop's third son. The eldest, Herbert 
William, R.N., died Feb. 29, 1856, of exposure in the Crimea. 
The eldest surviving son was Reginald Carton, who suc- 
ceeded his father in the Lavington property. 

2 Graffham is the parish annexed to Lavington, 



10 BEGINNINGS 

whom I have moved Basil that he may have his 
last year before Oxford with an Oxford man. 
Ellis, a son of Lord Howard de Walden, has been 
a fellow-pupil there. He is a great naturalist. 
He took Bas out for a naturalist excursion on 
Dartmoor, which was to last two days and one 
night ; but instead of that they stayed a week, 
though the weather was bad, sleeping out and 
cooking mutton for themselves. At last Ernest 
got thoroughly nervous about Bas, and hired a 
Tiverton horse and set out to find him. After 
24 miles' riding, the horse tumbled down and 
cut one of Ernest's knees, breaking both his 
own very severely. Ernest had to ride on four 
miles, and then got a trap and drove home. 
Next day Bas returned all right." 

It may be remarked in passing that Mr 
Owen and Basil Wilberforce became warmly 
attached to one another. In 1868, Owen, 
acknowledging a testimonial which had been 
presented to him by his former pupils, in ex- 
pressing the liveliest gratitude for the part 
which Wilberforce had taken in the matter, 
said : " May God bless you and them in 
whatever station of life He sees best to place 
them," and signed himself, " Your grateful and 
affectionate friend." 

On the 13th of March 1860, Basil Wilber- 
force matriculated at Oxford and entered Exeter 
College, whither his brother Ernest had pre- 
ceded him in 1859. In after-life, he was 



HORSES AND HUNTING 11 

accustomed to declare that he never knew why 
he had been sent to Exeter; but there were 
plenty of considerations which made the choice 
reasonable. Oriel, of which Bishop Wilberforce 
had been a member in its days of glory, was not 
at this time a popular college. Exeter was 
popular for two different, though not incompat- 
ible, reasons. In the first place, it had acquired, 
when William Sewell (afterwards Warden of 
Radley) was one of its tutors, a high reputa- 
tion as a place of training for Holy Orders, 
and strong Churchmen took to sending their 
sons there on that account. In the second, 
it was much frequented by Etonians, and 
of these many were hunting men, belong- 
ing to the County families of Oxfordshire, 
with whom the Bishop was on terms of cordial 
friendship. 

In later days Basil Wilberforce often said : 
" I should have been a much more learned 
man if I had not been so fond of hunting at 
Oxford." Traces of that fondness, and of his 
love for horses generally, appear at every turn 
of his undergraduate life. He hunted with the 
Bicester Hounds ; " cut " lectures in order to 
attend a steeple-chase at Leamington ; and kept 
a pack of beagles on the Episcopal premises 
at Cuddesdon. The Rev. Rowley Lascelles 
writes : 

"His lovely little beagle ('Dairymaid/ I 
think) and his beautiful roan horse on which 




12 BEGINNINGS 

he used to ride when hunting his beagle-pack, 
were the objects of great affection and sympathy, 
and this feeling lasted all his life, and seemed to 
increase as he grew older. . . . 

"In November 1860, several of us break- 
fasted at Pyrton Manor (some 16 miles from 
Oxford), invited by dear 'Jack Hamersley,' 
afterwards the Rev. Arthur Hamersley, Basil 
taking his beagles, and all hoping for a gallop 
after a hare. Basil's favourite roan could not 
go with his master I think he was lame so 
Basil had hired a bad-tempered brown horse 
for the day. When a hare was found this 
brown horse positively refused to go near the 
first fence, whereupon I offered him a little 
sweet-tempered grey mare I was riding. This 
he accepted, leaving me to argue the point 
with the brown all in vain ; for, after killing 
the hare, on his return to the scene the brown 
and I were as far as ever from friendly agree- 
ment. Basil, very much against my wish, 
insisted upon taking to the culprit once more, 
while the beagles rested. 

" The end of the episode was, that, after much 
coaxing and persuading, Basil's indomitable 
will conquered the first fence was thus over- 
come, the second cost about five minutes of 
precious time, the third was negotiated without 
difficulty, and thenceforward not one fence 
was refused. His enemies might have called it 
pig-headedness. Others might have recognized 
something much tygher in embryo." 



" FROLICSOMENESS " 13 

One who was at that time a Fellow of 
Exeter bears this emphatic testimony : " Basil 
Wilberforce was what might be called a very 
frolicsome undergraduate, but without reproach 
in the graver matters of drink and sensuality. 
At one time he smoked to excess, and endangered 
his life by the practice. He had been known 
to fall off his horse through a sudden heart- 
attack brought on by smoking. On one occasion 
he fell insensible on the floor of his lodgings, 
and it might have gone hard with him if 
assistance had not been at hand." Of his 
" frolicsomeness " the following instance is 
supplied by a contemporary : 

"He was clever in drawing with his pen, 
and he made a picture of the Dons of Exeter, 
illustrating their bodies by sketches of all kinds 
of beasts and serpents and monkeys some 
monkeys climbing up trees, some sitting on 
the branches, and the beasts roaming about 
underneath and as the face of each he attached 
a photograph of the Don. I remember the 
Bursar sitting as a monkey on a branch, sucking 
his thumb it was very grotesque and very 
clever. I saw it in a shop- window it was soon 
withdrawn, and there were what is popularly 
called ' ructions. ' 

The Rev. J. J. Mallaby thus describes him : 
"His characteristic was his deeply affectionate 
nature, which made him popular with all, and 



14 BEGINNINGS 

greatly beloved by his friends. 1 He was full 
of life, wit, and good spirits, though in health 
he was far from robust. He carried, by doctor's 
orders, some heart - medicine always in his 
pocket." 

These instances of cardiac trouble account 
for the constant solicitude about Basil's health 
which pervades the Bishop's diaries and letters : 

" Jan. 27, 1861.In to Oxford. Saw both 
my dears Bas not well." 

"May 2, 1861. Still very, very sad about 
Basil. Miserere Domine" 

" Nov. 16, 1864. I am very anxious about 
Basil's health, and break many a night's rest 
with the thought of him and of you [Reginald 
Wilberforce] in your lonely distance." 

The Bishop, in spite of his incessant 
journeyings, contrived to see a good deal of 
his sons. He rode with them, skated with 
them, played billiards with them, and did all 
in his power to make the motherless home 
happy. 

"July 5, 1862. Dear Basil came en route 
for Wales. Very dear and affectionate." 

"Dec. 31, 1861. Basil and I walked 
together and marked a few trees. Their 
smoking sadly parts me from them. I would 

1 Many of these friends were Freemasons. Basil 
Wilberforce joined the Apollo Lodge at Oxford in 1862, and 
proceeded in due time to higher grades of the craft. His 
masonic certificates, carefully docketed, lie before me as 
I write. G. W. E. R. 



SPORT 15 

to God I knew how to rouse them to dutiful 
exertion. I am always trying to interest them 
in conversation." 

When staying with the Gladstones at 
Hawarden : "No letter from any of my boys, 
and much dispirited. Oh that they were like 
these boys ! No smoking ; intellectual, etc." 

But, though the sons were not like the 
young Gladstones, they were enthusiastic 
sportsmen, and their home at Lavington gave 
them excellent opportunities for shooting. 
On the 1st of September they used to start at 
3.30 A.M., and toil manfully over the Downs 
and stubbles as long as daylight lasted. "No 
wonder that in the evening they were unable 
to keep awake while their father read them 
masterpieces of English poetry." A lady who, 
as a girl, was often the Bishop's guest used to 
say : " The house was really too full of terriers." 
Another says of Basil : " He was a very 
attractive, handsome youth, bubbling over 
with merriment, the life of the party almost 
as much as his father. I remember asking 
another youth there what he meant to be, and 
what a joke it seemed when he replied that he 
was going to study for Orders under Basil." 
But it was a joke which contained an element 
of truth. 

When Basil Wilberforce went up to Oxford 
he had formed no plans about his profession. 
On the whole he inclined towards the Bar, for 
which his mental quickness and his power of 

D 



16 BEGINNINGS 

ready speech were obvious qualifications. But 
a conversation at Nuneham with Mr William 
Vernon-Harcourt, then rising to eminence at 
the Parliamentary Bar, led him to think that 
the slowness of advancement in that profession 
would not accord with his dominant intention. 
He had, in ample measure, what it is the fashion 
of the present day to call " temperament," and 
he was in an unusual degree susceptible to the 
charms^and influence of women. Before he 
had taken his Degree, he had resolved on early 
marriage, though the choice of a wife was not 
yet definitely made. 

In 1864 the Bishop wrote to his son Reginald : 
"Quite between ourselves, Basil seems in a 
much steadier and more serious mood than I 
have ever known him. He is very seriously 
deliberating with himself whether he shall take 
Holy Orders." 

On the 18th of June 1865, Basil wrote as 
follows to his brother Reginald : 

" I quite endorse all you say about an idle 
life. I feel sure it would be a wretched life ; 
but that depends upon what you mean by an 
idle life if you mean not working for your 
living, I do not the least agree with you. 
A man may lead a very happy and a very 
useful life, and yet not do anything in the 
shape of work, if he is religious and looking 
to something beyond the mere enjoyment of 
this life ; but that, of course, would not do for 



MISS LANGFORD 17 

me. I have almost decided upon taking Orders. 
I have nothing more to give up besides hunting, 
which will be a severe struggle, as it is the 
only thing I really care about, but of course 
that can follow suit my doubt is at present 
whether it is my vocation or not, and before 
I am ordained I mean to live for a short time 
in some parish and do lay work, visiting the 
sick, etc., to see if I can really conscientiously 
adopt the profession. ... I got through 2nd 
Schools last Friday week, and I put on my 
Bachelor's gown on Thursday next. 1 I am 
really much better, thank God. All well at 
home, and the governor in great form." 

At this point the reader must be introduced 
to the lady who for forty-four years was the 
guiding star of Basil's life. 

In 1865 the Warden of All Souls College 
was the Rev. Francis Knyvett Leighton, who 
had married Catherine St Leger. Mrs Leighton 
had a sister, wife of Captain Thomas Netherton 
Langford, R.N., and mother of three daughters, 
of whom the eldest, Caroline Charlotte Jane, 
was staying with her uncle and aunt at All 
Souls for the " Commemoration " of 1865. 
Basil Wilberforce met Miss Langford at the 
Masonic Ball, promptly fell in love with her, 
and proposed to her at Ryde in the following- 
August. On the 30th of the month the Bishop 
wrote : " I am returning to Lavington to be 

1 He took his M.A. in 1867, and his D.D. in 1894. 



18 BEGINNINGS 

introduced to Charlotte Langford, to whom 
Basil has engaged himself, and who comes to 
stay, with her mother and sisters, to be made 
known to us. I hear that she is pretty, well- 
principled, and clever. Basil says he is in love 
with her mind, not her body." 

Again, on the 1st of October : " Dear 
Basil and his Charlotte have been here for 
a week. Basil is very fond of her more 
and more, he says. He says she is very re- 
served, very religious, very thoughtful and affec- 
tionate. She seems to be good-tempered, with a 
good deal of self-command, fond of Basil : and 
I have not made out for myself a good deal 



more." 



But there was " a good deal more " to be found 
under that reserved exterior shrewdness, organ- 
izing power, and an uncommon tenacity of 
purpose. Yet another aspect is revealed in 
the following letter from one who was a 
contemporary and a friend both of Basil and 
of his bride-elect : 

"DEAR Miss LONGFORD, Let me congratu- 
late you on your approaching marriage, in which, 
I assure you, I take the greatest interest. I 
want very much to know what 'dear Aunt 
Katty' 1 says about it. 

"I will allow that, with the exception of 
her owner, nothing can excel your beautiful 
chestnut mare : but as for my giving 180 for 

1 Mrs Leighton. 



A PREDICTION 19 

a hack, in my reduced and embarrassed circum- 
stances, it is simply impossible, added to which 
I have four horses already, and can afford to 
keep no more. 

" So the poor parson's wife is going to be 
economical ! No more 200-guinea hacks ; no 
more pearl-grey dresses from Paris, to be worn 
but once. Talking of which gay city, I 
remember I go there next week, and I believe 
the number of your dainty hand is 5f is it not ? 

"Pray remember me to your parents and 
sisters, and believe me, yours very sincerely, 

"N.- 
It is not surprising that some of those who 
had known Miss Langford in her bright girlhood 
should have "felt for her," when she was 
"plunged all at once into the midst of clerical 
life " ; but those who knew her best " predicted 
that she would adapt herself perfectly to what 
might be required of her " ; and the prediction 
was amply fulfilled. 

The following letter is eminently char- 
acteristic of the hand that penned it : - 

"Sept. 20, 1865. 

"My DEAR BASIL WILBERFORCE, I ought 
long ago to have thanked you for your very 
kind letter, which gave me great pleasure and 
hope. But now I am writing, having heard 
from your good father, to offer you my most 
sincere congratulations on your happy prospects 



20 BEGINNINGS 

of marriage. This does indeed look like an 
encouraging blessing it is always so when we 
give up what we love to God, He restores it an 
hundredfold. You have given Him yourself, 
and He has given you back your life and 
another life besides, because He might have 
taken you away ; but now it seems you are to 
live, and to live with Him, and with another 
from Him and in Him this is real life, real 
happiness. Only now we must work all the 
harder, for you have indeed a wonderful work 
before you. Let this encourage you to spare 
yourself in no way in your preparation for His 
service. You will at least have the Heart, 
Mind, Soul, of one to hold, to frame, to pray 
for. What need you will have at once of 
Purity, Wisdom, Power of Prayer ! Nothing, 
I think, makes one long so much to be at one 
with God as the hope that one's prayer may 
there be acceptable for those we love. 

" This year may do great things, and then 
you must both together live and grow in wisdom 
and love, and be ready to hold, and frame, and 
pray for those whom God may give you. 

"This does indeed open up wonderful 
thoughts of the future, which reach on into 
Eternity for marriage is God's appointed way 
of adding to the number of the Eternal Beings, 
of preparing the Jewels for the Crown of 
Christ ; it is nothing less ; it has always appeared 
to me a wonderful thing. 

" Now I must say goodbye. I will not fail 



"THE QUEEN OF SHEBA" 21 

to remember you both that you may be filled 
with His wisdom and His love. 

" I am, my dear Basil Wilberforce, yours 
most sincerely and affectionately, 

"EDWARD KING." 

In the year 1865, Queen Emma of the 
Sandwich Islands, widow of the king who had 
imported Anglicanism into Hawaii, paid a visit 
to England in order to raise funds for the 
maintenance of the Hawaian Church. She 
stayed with the Bishop of Oxford, both at 
Cuddesdon and at Lavington, and accompanied 
him on a round of meetings in the manu- 
facturing districts of the North, where great 
collections were made for this Hawaian Mission. 
The Bishop thus describes her : " She is about 
as dark as a Portuguese, with nice features and 
expression of countenance. . . . Basil calls her, 
of course, the Queen of Sheba." 

The following letter belongs to this period : 

"CLARIDGE'S HOTEL, 
"Nov. 25, 1865. 

"My DEAR MR BASIL WILBERFORCE, It 
is with real disappointment that I write at this 
late hour my regrets for not being able to come 
to your wedding. The hour is late, because I 
have been trying to make it possible for me to 
be present on that day. Before your invitation 
arrived, Lord Clarendon had waited on me 
with a message from the Queen to spend the 



22 BEGINNINGS 

27th and 28th with her at Windsor, which I 
immediately accepted. On inquiring of those 
who are often there if it is advisable to come 
away early in the morning, they all tell me it is 
the usual thing for her visitors to leave after 
lunch. Though prevented from coming, which 
I much regret, I am not prevented from 
approaching that same altar together with you 
both in fervent prayers at that time for your 
united happiness and long life. 

" May I send kind wishes and congratulation 
to the young lady, and believe me ever to be 
yours very faithfully, EMMA." 

Basil Wilberforce and Charlotte Langford 
were married, by his father, at St Paul's, 
Knightsbridge, on the 28th of November 1865, 
and the date was ever afterwards noted in 
the bridegroom's diary as Dies Sanctissima. 

Basil Wilberforce was now in the rather 
unsatisfactory position of a married man with- 
out a profession, and without a home of his 
own. He and his wife lived in the " Palace " 
at Cuddesdon, and had it pretty much to 
themselves, for the Bishop was constantly away, 
and they occupied their time in preparations 
for Basil's ordination. Basil attended lectures 
at the Theological College which his father 
had established in the grounds of the Palace, 
and at home was busy with Hooker and 
Pearson. His young wife used to read with 
him and to him, and by her bright intelligence 



ORDINATION 23 

lightened the load of solid theology, which 
Basil, who by nature was not a student, might 
otherwise have found oppressive. 

On the 4th of July 1866, Mrs Wilberforce 
gave birth to her first child, Herbert William ; l 
and on the 15th of August the Bishop wrote : 
"Basil and Charlotte and their little Herbert 
are now all established at Cuddesdon, and doing 
well. Bas is beginning lectures again in 
College. He seems now very much set on 
ordination." 

On the 5th of December, the Rev. J. R. 
Woodford (afterwards Bishop of Ely) wrote as 
follows from Cuddesdon to Bishop Wilberforce, 
whose chaplain and intimate friend he was : 

"I am enjoying my stay here very much. 
Nothing can be kinder and nicer than Basil. 
We have long talks every evening upon 
theological subjects. He seems to me to be 
deeply interested in the points which his new 
line of reading is opening out to him, and I think 
you would have been made very happy by some 
things which he said last night touching upon 
his own personal feelings and convictions." 

In Lent, 1867, Bishop Wilberforce held his 
ordination at Chipping Norton. On the 8th 

1 Now Brigadier-General Wilberforce, C.B. The other 
children were : Isabel Constance, born and died in 1868, 
and Violet Mary, born in 1872, now the wife of the 
Rev. E. H. Kennedy. 

E 



24 BEGINNINGS 

of March he wrote thus in his diary : " The 
ordination advancing well. Dearest Bas doing 
very well ; placed at the top of all after careful 
scrutiny of all papers he modestly wishing 
to have Warre l at least cequales." 

On Sunday the 17th of March, the Bishop 
writes : "I ordained my Basil with great 
comfort. What an answer to prayer ! " 

One who had known Basil Wilberforce as 
an undergraduate wrote thus of him at a later 
period : " It seemed to me probable that his 
whole view of the seriousness and duties of 
life had so much changed since his early days, 
that college life was not the bright spot in his 
memory which it remains in the life of many 



men." 



As soon as he was ordained, Basil was 
licensed to the curacy of Cuddesdon, of 
which Edward King, Principal of the Theo- 
logical College and afterwards Bishop of 
Lincoln, was Vicar. " He was devoted to his 
work, and beloved by the parishioners." At 
the same time he became his father's Domestic 
Chaplain, and he had fifteen months theological 
reading in preparation for the priesthood. He 
was ordained Priest by his father in the Parish 

1 Edmond Warre, afterwards Head Master and Provost 
of Eton. 

2 Basil Wilberforce, before his ordination, had made his 
first confession to the Rev. Robert Milman, then Vicar of 
Great Marlow, and afterwards Bishop of Calcutta. 



PRIESTHOOD 25 

Church of Cuddesdon, on Trinity Sunday, 
7th of June 1868. In after-years he told the 
present writer that the first time he celebrated 
the Holy Communion he took the eastward 
position, and that he had never varied his 
practice in this respect. 1 

1 Though urged by Dean Bradley to do so, when he 
became Canon of Westminster. 



I IBRARY ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 



CHAPTER II 

ST MARY'S 

THE first and second years of Basil Wilber- 
force's ministry passed uneventfully, but, by the 
time that the third year began, there were 
changes in the air. 

There had long been a close and affectionate 
friendship between Bishop Wilberforce and Mr 
Gladstone. The Bishop was not much of a 
politician ; but, as far as he was interested in 
politics, he sympathized with the Peelite wing 
of the Conservative party. In after-years, 
Archbishop Tait, when commenting on the 
Bishop's Life, wrote thus : " It is impossible not 
to be struck with the extraordinary influence 
which he acquired over Lord Aberdeen, and 
with the intimacy of his relations with all the 
politicians of the Aberdeen school." Of that 
school by far the most important member 
was Gladstone, who sate for the University 
of Oxford from 1847 to 1865, and whose devoted 
Churchmanship attached the Bishop strongly 
to his side. 

26 



THE IRISH CHURCH 27 

Early in the session of 1868, Gladstone, 
then M.P. for South Lancashire, and leader 
of the Liberal Opposition in the House of 
Commons, began his attack on the establish- 
ment of the Irish Church. He won the 
General Election of that year on the cry 
of Irish disestablishment, and became Prime 
Minister for the first time in December. As 
soon as the new Parliament met, he brought 
in his Bill for total disestablishment and partial 
disendowment. Bishop Wilberforce, who had 
not sympathized with the beginning of the 
attack, regarded the result of the General 
Election as decisive ; and, having done as much 
as he could for the Irish Church in 1868, he 
offered no opposition to the Bill of 1869, which 
became law on the 26th of July. On this 
occasion the Bishop wrote to a friend : " This 
Irish Church work has been specially annoying 
at every turn. It was a bad cause to fight, and 
a worse to yield." 

The Bishop had been sorely disappointed in 
1862, when Palmerston declined to make him 
Archbishop of York, and again in 1868 when 
Disraeli, in the last days of his premiership, passed 
him over both for Canterbury and for London. 
But, now that Gladstone was Prime Minister, 
it was certain that these wrongs would be, as 
far as was possible, redressed ; it was known 
that the aged Bishop Sumner intended to resign 
the See of Winchester ; and there was a general 
expectation that Bishop Wilberforce would 



28 ST MARY'S 

succeed him. The expectation was fulfilled in 
the autumn of 1869, and on the 16th of 
December Samuel Wilberforce was enthroned 
in Winchester Cathedral. 

This event had an important bearing on 
Basil Wilberforce's life. Three years before, 
the Bishop had bestowed the living of Middleton 
Stoney, near Bicester, on his son Ernest. Now 
Ernest decided to resign Middleton, and the 
Bishop asked him to take the post of Domestic 
Chaplain, which Basil had held ever since his 
ordination. Moved by a natural desire to 
make some provision for his youngest son, who 
would otherwise be homeless, the Bishop pro- 
posed that Basil should succeed his brother at 
Middleton ; but Basil felt a strong repugnance 
to the proposed course. His feeling may be in- 
ferred from the following letter, written by the 
Rev. H. P. Liddon on the 23rd of October 1869. 

" I cannot help thinking that you are right. 
I don't like to use the word ' Simoniacal' in 
the matter ; but the arrangement would, I think, 
expose the Bishop to misconstruction, and, at a 
time when everything of the kind is jealously 
watched, would be relentlessly used against him. 
Had the arrangement been made before the 
Bishop's acceptance of the See of Winchester, 
there would have been little to say against it. 

" But don't take my opinion for more than 
it is worth in such a matter, that is, for very 
little indeed." 



SOUTHSEA 29 

Basil stuck to his text. When his father 
migrated from Cuddesdon Palace to Winchester 
House, 1 he went to Seaton, in North Devon, 
and after a few months' work there among the 
fisher-folk, he became Curate of St Jude's, 
Southsea, which was in his father's new 
diocese. In 1871 the Bishop wrote in his diary : 
" My Basil esteemed, and making his way " ; and, 
after preaching at St Jude's : " Great congrega- 
tion. All highly esteem Bas. The Vicar said, 
' If only Basil could be incumbent, and I curate 
under him ! ' 

Early in 1871, one of the most important 
benefices in the Diocese of Winchester the 
Rectory of St Mary's, Southampton became 
vacant ; and, undeterred by charges of nepotism, 
Bishop Wilberforce resolved to bestow it on 
his youngest son. 2 It is worthy of note that 
he had himself been designated for this benefice 
by Bishop Sumner, who wrote to him as follows 
on the 4th of February 1837 : " I have pro- 
posed, whenever the time comes, to place you 
at St Mary's, Southampton." 3 

It now fell to the lot of the younger prelate 
to inform "the Patriarch," as he always called 
Bishop Sumner, that he meant to put his 

1 Bishop Sumner 3 on resigning his See, retained Farnham 
Castle for his life. 

2 A writer in the Nonconformist referred to this resolution 
as " Wilberforce's Practical View/' in allusion to the book 
of that name by the Bishop's father. 

3 Life of Bishop Wilberforce, vol. i., p. 103. 



30 ST MARY'S 

youngest son in the place once designated for 
himself. The information produced the follow- 
ing letter from the Rev. J. M. Sumner to Bishop 
Wilberforce : 

"FARNHAM CASTLE, SURREY, 
"March 31, 1871. 

" MY DEAR LORD, My father was very 
much pleased to hear from yourself this 
morning of your appointment to St Mary's, 
Southampton. 

" Of course, the mere fact that the new rector 
is your son will be the cause of some outcry ; 
nor do I suppose that any appointment which 
you could have made would be free from criti- 
cism. If I may be allowed to say so without 
presumption, I am glad that you have had 
the moral courage to disregard what will be 
only the passing talk of the day. No one 
can know your son's powers and disposition 
and earnestness better than yourself, and I 
have no doubt that by the faithfulness of his 
ministry, his devotion to his work, and his 
conciliatory conduct, he will justify your 
choice, even to those who might at first cavil 
at it. 

" These feelings are entertained by my father 
as well as by myself. 

" I was not at all surprised at the announce- 
ment in your letter this morning, and I 
earnestly trust that a ministry in which you 
will be so deeply interested may be abundantly 



AN ARDUOUS POST 31 

blessed to one of the most important parishes 
in your diocese. I am, my dear Lord, yours 
affectionately, 

" J. M. SUMNEll." 

An old friend of the Bishop the Rev. George 
Williams, the great authority on the Eastern 
Church after a careful review of all the 
circumstances, " pronounced the appointment not 
only good, but wise and right, so that you may 
say to him, Go, and the Lord be with thee." 
"It was not,"he adds, "the adversaries' malevolent 
carping that I was thinking of. You have learnt 
to despise that, as you ought. I was afraid the 
feeling among staunch friends would be, * I 
wish he hadn't done that.' Dr Carey's 1 most 
admirable and sensible letter removes that 
apprehension altogether, and reconciles your 
duty and inclination most completely. So 
felwc faustumque sit, precor, and, if I mistake 
not, in three years' time Dissent-ridden (and, 
pace Dr Carey, Puritan-ridden) Southampton 
will be quite a different place. But what a 
work Basil has before him ! May he have all 
the grace and wisdom requisite for such an 
arduous post." 

Basil's old tutor, the Rev. Lewis Owen, 
wrote as follows : 

" I heard from Ernest this morning that you 
are really going to St Mary's, and I most 

1 Dr Carey was Vicar of St Paul's, Southampton, and 
Rural Dean ; an old-fashioned High Churchman. 

F 



32 ST MARY'S 

earnestly hope that you are acting wisely, and 
will have God's blessing poured down upon you 
abundantly ; but there is no mistake about its 
being a very weighty charge, and there will 
be many adversaries. 

" Still, the experience you have picked up 
lately will be now very valuable, and the 
great responsibility will make you older by 
many years in a very short time. It is not 
an easy work to follow such men as the two or 
three last incumbents were thorough partisans 
who must have left many firm friends behind 
them but I hope and believe you will resolve 
from the very beginning to take up real 
hard practical work amongst the poor and in 
the schools, which is congenial to you and to 
Mrs Basil ; and never allow yourself to be 
drawn by any amount of persecution or annoy- 
ance to touch the subjects of controversy in 
the pulpit, or in private conversation, bearing 
in mind that many ears will be open to catch 
up all unguarded words, and spiteful tongues 
will be waiting to carry about tales to trouble 
and hinder you. 

"If you can but resist the temptation of 
replying to weak opponents, and will stick 
vigorously to the parish, knowing nothing of 
Party conflicts, and allowing a considerable 
amount of indulgence to the friends of your 
predecessors, who were good men of quite 
another stamp, you will succeed. I hope 
your health will stand the wear and tear." 



BENEDICTIONS 33 

The Rev. R. R. Chope, Vicar of St 
Augustine's, Queen's Gate, wrote: 

" If it be really so that you have accepted 
St Mary's, Southampton I bid you God- 
speed with all my heart. I know that He 
has a work for you in His Church to bring 
souls to Him. It rejoices me much to have 
you settled down as spiritual head of a Parish. 
You will find it a glorious opportunity for 
your own soul ; and, did one only feel sufficient 
for it, there is no sphere of usefulness so great, 
so blessed, and so ripening, as that of a Parish 
Priest." 

Archdeacon Utterton 1 wrote from the Close 
at Winchester (in which Basil Wilberforce was 
born) : 

"Allow me most sincerely and heartily to 
congratulate you on your appointment to 
St Mary's, Southampton. It is a large and 
most important sphere of influence, into which 
I know you will throw all your energies and 
powers, and earnestly do I pray that you may 
be blessed and prospered in your work there, 
and that Mrs Wilberforce and you may enjoy 
many years of happiness in your new and 
delightful home for such it is. I only wish 
the church was as satisfactory, but I doubt 
not you will be able to effect some improvement 
there." 

1 Afterwards Bishop of Guildford. 



34 ST MARY'S 

From an old friend in the Diocese of Oxford 
came this word of cheer : 

" I cannot help taking pen in hand to say how 
glad I am that the Bishop has presented you to 
the living, and that you have accepted it. 

"Your work at Southsea has somewhat 
prepared you for town work. You appear to 
have got on famously and to have made your- 
self very popular. God grant that you may be 
equally successful in your new sphere of duty. 

" As for anyone finding fault with your 
Father for giving you the Living, I think it is 
most uncharitable and unkind. Is a Bishop's 
son to be the only person who is not eligible 
for a living in his Father's gift ? After you 
have been working in the Diocese, and have 
justly obtained a good name, it would have 
been unnatural, to say the least of it, to pass 
you over. However, I have heard but one 
opinion in these parts, and that is that the 
Bishop has done quite right ; and, if some 
disappointed clergymen in the Winchester 
Diocese are a little put out at first, they will 
soon see the matter in a proper light. I fear 
a large and poor Town Parish is not so good 
as it looks. What with curates, schools, and 
charities, the income is soon cut down, and 
I am sure it is not income that tempts people 
to take a large Town Living with all its cares 
and responsibilities, but a wish to perform a large 
amount of work. That, I am sure, is your 



A WORD OF WARNING 35 

feeling on the subject, and I trust that your 
health may be equal to your love of work." 

On the 1st of April 1871, Bishop Wilber- 
force's diary records : " Basil collated in St 
Mary's, Southampton " ; and, on the 26th : " A 
charming letter from Bas. Full of hopes. 
Answer to prayer." 

The new Rector was inducted on the 3rd of 
June, and on Sunday evening, the 4th (having 
"read himself in" at the morning service), he 
preached his first sermon in St Mary's. 1 
He took two texts Ezekiel iii. 20, and Ezekiel 
xx. 49 : " Because thou hast not given him 
warning, he shall die in his sin, and his 
righteousness which he hath done shall not be 
remembered ; but his blood will I require at thine 
hand"; "Then said I, Ah Lord God! they 
say of me, Doth he not speak parables ? " 
His opening words were these : " It is hardly 
possible that any can hear these striking 
passages I have just read from the Word of 
God without perceiving their peculiar applica- 
tion to the circumstances under which I stand 
before you to-day." His closing words were 
these : " Let us implore the aid of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, beseeching Him to send amongst 
us His Holy Spirit to guide and bless all our 
efforts, and to lead us ultimately into all truth, 
that, in the end, when our Blessed Lord comes 

1 The Bishop wrote in his diary for this day: "Thinking 
much and praying much for Bas." 



36 ST MARY'S 

in His glory to gather in His own redeemed, 
and when the recording angel opens the book 
of judgment, not one of us who have knelt 
together in this parish church may be found 
wanting, but that the sentence of the Judge may 
be : ' Well done, thou good and faithful servant, 
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' Amen." 

This sermon was preached in a pulpit of the 
" three-decker " type, sixteen feet high, scaled 
by a staircase of fourteen steps ; stretching eight 
yards from east to west, and rendering the 
Holy Table invisible. The church was worthy 
of the pulpit, being a Georgian structure of 
indescribable hideousness ; but in other respects 
the benefice possessed many amenities, for 
the income was abundant, and the rectory- 
house, strangely called " The Deanery," was 
large and commodious, standing in delightful 
grounds. It was originally a chantry of 
St Denys Priory, and some remains of the 
mediaeval building are still visible. 1 

The Bishop's care for his beloved son did 
not stop short at his preferment. He used 
all his influence to bring the young Rector of 
St Mary's into social relations with pleasant 
houses in the adjacent County ; he consulted 
Sir Thomas Watson, President of the College 
of Physicians, about the best doctors in 
Southampton ; and he did his utmost, by 

1 The famous Football Club of Southampton was originally 
the St Mary's Parochial Club, and Wilberforce allowed it to 
practise in the grounds of the Deanery. 



IMPROVEMENTS 37 

personal exertion, to start his son's new work 
auspiciously. 

On the 18th of August 1871 he wrote in 
his diary : " Southampton. Wrote and prepared 
sermon for St Mary's, Southampton. Much 
moved, and prayed hard for first sermon there 
in Bas's ministry. Preached on ' He that 
teacheth.' Sunday School conference." 

" August 19. Basil had clerical party to 
meet me. All went off pleasantly." 

" August 20. Early Communion. Pre- 
pared my sermon on Naaman. Walked with 
Basil and C[harlotte] to countless schools for 
two hours. Saw poor dying man. Intensely 
tired. Preached evening on Jehu. Large 
congregation. I trust impressed. Church- 
wardens to supper." 

66 Sept. 21. Warmly received by dear Bas, 
and everything cared for by her." 

On Sunday the 24th of September the 
Bishop held his ordination in St Mary's, and 
on the 31st he wrote in his diary : " South- 
ampton. Examined God's House with Basil." 

This examination of God's House led to 
prompt and drastic changes. The towering 
pulpit was lowered, and removed from its 
central position ; the reading-desk was abolished ; 
the floor of the chancel was raised, and choir- 
stalls were placed in it ; the space inside 
the altar-rails was tiled ; a reredos was 
erected ; and the organ, enlarged and improved, 
was removed from the west gallery to the 



38 ST MARY'S 

south side of the chancel. The new Rector 
discarded the black gown, then so dear to the 
Puritan heart, and from the first preached in 
his surplice his "white surplice," as the local 
papers called it 1 and clad in similar garments 
his new choir, forty-four strong. The altera- 
tions were completed in time for Advent Sunday, 
December 3, when Charles Kingsley preached in 
the morning, and Bishop Wilberforce in the 
evening. The new order at St Mary's may be 
dated from this day. 

The National School-master, at his first 
interview with the new Rector, said in a rather 
patronizing tone, " Well, Sir, I think you will 
do " : which brought this characteristic answer 
" I have been thinking the matter over, and I 
have made up my mind to allow you to remain 
as School-master." From that moment the two 
men understood one another, and were the best 
of friends. 

At this period of his life, Basil Wilberforce 
was, theologically, what his father had made 
him. The Bishop had been trained in that 
more churchmanlike school of Evangelicalism 
which had its centre at Clapham, and had by 
degrees advanced to the position of a moderate 
High Churchman. He clung unwaveringly to 
the best and essential part of the Evangelical 
system the conviction of sin and the need of 
a Saviour and to this he gradually added a 

1 He subsequently introduced coloured stoles, and this 
was the summit of his ritualism. 



FATHER AND SON 39 

sacramental theology, guarded but orthodox, 
with a taste for church-restoration and for 
modest ceremonial. Basil Wilberforce had 
been brought up in a circle where his father's 
lightest word was, theologically, law ; he was 
bound to that father by the closest ties of 
mutual affection, and he had inherited several 
of his gifts. Physically, he did not much 
resemble the bishop, being taller and more 
gracefully built, with a more regular profile. 
The wide mouth, supposed to be characteristic 
of the orator, he had inherited ; but his brow 
was nobler, and his aspect more refined. His 
inward resemblances to his father were un- 
mistakable. He had the same exquisite gift 
of sympathy ; the same power of attracting 
affection ; the same effervescent humour ; the 
same tendency to be all things to all men ; the 
same love of his fellow-creatures in that wide 
sense of the term which includes, not only 
humanity, but all that God has made. One 
of his early friends records : " There is one 
point in his character which first struck me 
at Oxford his great love of, and sympathy 
with, lower animals" and this trait continued 
with him till the end. 

Then again, he resembled his father in 
the eagerness of his temperament. When he 
thought an object right or desirable, he could 
not rest till he had attained it ; and, at least in 
his earlier days, he was apt to begin building 
his towers without counting the cost, and to 

G 



40 ST MARY'S 

go to war without reckoning the forces opposed 
to him. 

And yet again and this conspicuously he 
had inherited from his father and grandfather 
the great gift of natural eloquence, enhanced by 
one of the most beautiful voices ever heard in 
public, and by all the accessories of carriage 
and gesture. But this eloquence was rather 
his master than his servant, and was apt to 
carry him beyond the limits alike of accurate 
statement and of argumentative cogency. 

This combination of qualities was bound to 
secure him a wide popularity ; and at the same 
time to provoke a narrow but determined 
hostility. Both of these results were soon 
visible in Southampton, and we will take the 
hostility first. A curate resigned, feeling that 
to remain in office under the new Rector 
would be " no longer consistent with his 
religious principles," and joined the " Free 
Church of England." One Sunday School 
teacher was driven away by horror of the sur- 
plice in the pulpit ; another by the " prominence 
assigned to the doctrine of the Sacraments." 
A seat-holder of fifty years' standing forsook the 
Church as a protest against a Metrical Litany 
at a Lenten Service ; a neighbouring clergyman 
brought railing accusations against a " Catechist's 
Manual," authorized by Bishop Wilberforce, and a 
" Communicant's Manual," compiled by Edward 
King ; and, when the Ruridecanal Chapter 
discussed u the right use of Confession in the 



A HELPER 41 

Church of England," such well-known scribes 
as "Protestant," "Paterfamilias," and "Vox 
Clamantis," warned Southampton against the 
dark designs of the new Rector and his col- 
leagues. 

On the other side, there were unmistakable 
signs of popularity and success. St Mary's 
church, which for some time had been rather 
sparsely attended, was now crowded. The 
" weekly offertory," collected in alms-bags, soon 
exceeded the products of the discarded " plate." 
Mission- Chapels were opened in poverty-stricken 
districts. A fresh life was felt in all the schools, 
where the new Rector, with his genuine love of 
children, was peculiarly at home. A "Choral 
Association," a " Young Men's Mutual Improve- 
ment Society," a " Maternity Society," and an 
" Industrial Society " for providing poor women 
with needlework, were set on foot and vigorously 
worked. Wilberforce gathered round him a band 
of zealous and efficient curates ; * and, in all such 
labours as fall within a woman's sphere, Mrs 
Wilberforce was her husband's tactful and un- 
tiring helper. Even in quarters where the new 
order was severely criticized, there was a cordial 
recognition of the new Rector's courtesy, good 
humour, and liberality. 

At every turn in the various difficulties 
which always attend a work of reconstruction, 

1 Here let two names be recorded William Willcox Perrin, 
Bishop of Willesden, formerly Bishop of British Columbia ; 
and Benedict Geoige Hoskyns, Archdeacon of Hastings, 



42 ST MARY'S 

Wilberforce had the invaluable aid of his father's 
sympathy and experience. The Bishop, having 
no official residence in the diocese, 1 made 
Southampton his head -quarters, and had a room 
permanently set apart for him in the Deanery. 
Besides ordaining and confirming in St Mary's, 
he constantly preached and lectured there, took 
part in the regular services, and by his presence 
sanctioned the changes which were made. What 
the Bishop approved and encouraged, the Rector 
could not be reasonably blamed for practising. 

Some extracts from the Bishop's diary may 
be here inserted : 

"1872. March 29 (Good Friday). . . . 
Southampton by 4, and at J-past Confirmation 
of adults at St Mary's. Most interesting and 
most encouraging results of dearest Bas's 
labours God bless him. Then walked in 
garden and wrote a little, and then preached 
on Isaiah liii. 4. Dearest Bas pleased." 

" March 31 (Southampton). Up early. 
Prepared morning sermon on ' Came Jesus.' 
Wrote. An interesting morning congregation 
and Communion. Thank God nearly trebled 
communicants in the year. . . . Walked with 
Bas to water-side, beautiful evening. I preached 
again on Jesus and Resurrection. Grand 
congregation, and very attentive. The chancel 
wonderfully improved. Reredos." 

1 Bishop Sumner, who retained Farnham Castle for his 
life, survived his successor. 



TRANSLATION 43 

" Nov. 10. Prepared and preached at St 
Mary's to volunteer Riflemen. Large attend- 
ance. ' Unto a perfect man.' Wrote a little, 
Basil with me." 

" Dec. 18. Heard Basil lecture - - bold, 
manly, unpugnacious. A great deal of power ; 
so Woodford * also judged." 

On Christmas Eve he held his Advent 
Ordination in St Mary's church. On the 28th 
of December, he wrote : " Bas so worn by 
his work and its anxieties. Yet, Praise the 
Lord, O my soul." 

On the 10th of April 1873, the entry is: 
" Southampton. Lecture on Catacombs. Large 
attendance and well received. Tried to keep 
line of Church, as against Rome and Dissent. 
Bas a cold, alas !" 

These entries, to which many might be 
added, exhibit not only the writer's almost 
feminine tenderness, but also his constant desire 
to help his youngest son in the difficult work 
to which he had called him. The Bishop's 
support was gratefully recognized by all who had 
the interests of St Mary's at heart, and all was 
going well when a sudden and heavy blow fell 
upon the parish, the diocese, and the whole 
Church of England. 

On Saturday afternoon, July 19, 1873, the 
Bishop was killed by a fall from his horse, 
while riding among the Surrey Hills. The fatal 

1 J. R. Woodford, the Bishop's Chaplain ; afterwards 
Bishop of Ely. 



44 ST MARY'S 

news reached Basil Wilberforce on the evening 
of the same day, while he was preparing his 
sermon for the morrow. By a difficult and 
crooked journey, travelling through the night, 
he reached Sir Thomas Farrer's house at 
Abinger, where the Bishop's body lay. To the 
end of his life he referred to that experience 
as a heart-breaking calamity. " I could not 
understand it then," he used to say, "but 
I can understand it now." His father's sup- 
port being removed, he was forced to stand 
alone, and the full vigour of his ministry dated 
from that sad day. " He then vowed a great 
oath to Almighty God that he would justify 
his father's appointment." 

The death of Bishop Wilberforce evoked 
a remarkable display of sympathy and regret. 
He had friends in every part of the country, 
and in all classes of society ; and even those who 
disapproved of his ecclesiastical methods were 
forward to admit that he had been for forty 
years a conspicuous figure in the religious and 
social life of England. 

Memorials to his character and work sprang 
up in various localities with which he had been 
more or less connected ; and Basil Wilberforce 
determined that, as far as Southampton was 
concerned, the memorial should be a new St 

1 Bishop Wilberforce was succeeded in the See of 
Winchester by the Bishop of Ely, Edward Harold Browne, 
who in 1876 appointed Basil Wilberforce to an Honorary 
Canonry in Winchester Cathedral. 



A NEW CHURCH 45 

Mary's church. In proposing this scheme, he 
was able to reinforce himself by a strong argu- 
ment. " It was," he said, " the great wish of 
the late bishop that St Mary's should be 
rebuilt ; and early in 1873 he asked the eminent 
Mr Street, as Diocesan Architect, to give him 
an opinion as to the capabilities of the building, 
either for repairs or otherwise." 

This was Mr Street's report : "I think 
I have never seen a church so ill calculated for 
use as a church. It is mean, ugly, and incon- 
venient in the highest degree. The state of 
the fabric is not good. It would, I fear, be 
impossible to make any alterations in the 
existing building which would make it in any 
degree worthy of its purpose ; and the money 
spent on such alterations would be, in a sense, 
thrown away, as such improvements could 
only be considered at the best as temporary 
expedients." 

Having regard to this opinion, Basil Wilber- 
force boldly determined to build a new church. 
His first plan had been to choose a fresh site, 
but various difficulties intervened, and it was 
eventually decided to erect the new build- 
ing piecemeal, joining it to the old. This 
decision was adopted by the Vestry in 1876, 
and the work was immediately put in hand. 
The first stone of the new portion was laid by 
the Prince of Wales on the 12th of August 
1878, "in memory of Samuel Wilberforce, 
Bishop of Winchester"; and on the 19th of 



46 ST MARY'S 

June 1879, the eastern half and the chancel 
having been rebuilt, the church was "re-con- 
secrated" by Bishop Harold Browne, in the 
presence of the two Primates. Archbishop 
Tait preached in the morning, and Archbishop 
Thomson in the evening. 1 

While the material reconstruction of St 
Mary's was in progress, the spiritual atmosphere 
of the place was undergoing a similar change. 
Each year witnessed some important develop- 
ment in the order of the services, in the 
frequency of Celebrations, 2 and in the peni- 
tential use of Lent. In Lent 1876, a successful 
mission was conducted at St Mary's by the Rev. 
George Body ; and, as Mission-work and Confes- 
sion are closely allied, this may be a convenient 
place for inserting a letter which was written by 
Wilberforce in 1873. The Bishop of Brechin 3 
had commended to his spiritual care a lady 
who had come to live in Southampton, and 
who was in the habit of confessing before each 
Communion. This was his reply : " The Rev. 
B. Wilberforce presents his compliments to the 
Bishop of Brechin, and begs to assure him that 
he will render most gladly any spiritual assist- 
ance in his power to Mrs H , consistent with 

1 A conspicuous feature of the new St Mary's was a 
" Grave-Font " for baptism by immersion. Basil Wilberforce 
took lessons from C. H. Spurgeon in this method of 
baptizing. 

2 The early Celebration every Sunday was begun in 1871. 

3 A. P. Forbes. 



CONFESSION 47 

the doctrine and practice of the Reformed 
Church. 

"With the most firm belief in the great 
value of the Ministry of Reconciliation, he 
nevertheless entertains the deepest conviction 
that habitual confession is most injurious to 
the spiritual life, and entirely contrary to 
the teaching of the Reformation ; and he 

could not therefore encourage Mrs H or 

anyone else to come to Confession before every 
Communion." 

But, in spite of this moderate and thoroughly 
Anglican line, the changes at St Mary's were 
not effected without unreasonable and bitter 
opposition. On the 14th of January 1877, 
Father Benson of Cowley wrote a letter which 
indicates pretty clearly the circumstances in 
which Wilberforce had approached him :- 

"I will send you Father Black to conduct 
the Three Hours on Good Friday, and I think 
you will find him do it in such a way as to 
win your people, in the power of God's grace. 
If you have been fighting beasts at Ephesus, 
I hope that some of the ' First Love ' of that 
highly favoured Church is also lingering on at 
Southampton in spite of difficulties. I hope 
that some of those who do not yet so much 
as know whether there be any Holy Ghost may 
be willing to be taught." 

In a later chapter we shall see that, at this 
period, Wilberforce's theology was undergoing 



48 ST MARY'S 

some disturbance. The following letters from 
his uncle, Cardinal Manning, have their interest 
as bearing on this point l : 

"August It, 1877. 

" It would give me much pleasure to see you 
all, though you are a sad medley of schism, 
rationalism, and ambition. This last is for 

Charlotte." 

"August 31, 1877. 

"No ambition is from the Holy Ghost, 
except St Paul's * This one thing I do, for- 
getting the things that are behind and reaching 
forth to the things that are before.' Do this 
with all your might, and it will correct the 
faults in you which you think ambition would 
cure. It would only make them fester. By 
rationalism I mean a Christianity which rests 
upon human authority. And by schism you 
know what I mean. There are no knots in 
' one is one.' But you will slip like an eel. 

" My love to Charlotte, and a blessing to 
you both. Go both of you and pray before 
the Blessed Sacrament. Think of your own two 
souls, and never mind what others are about." 

1 Henry Edward Manning married Caroline Sargent, 
younger sister of Mrs Samuel Wilberforce. 



CHAPTER III 

TEETOTALISM 

WHEN Basil Wilberforce died, one of his con- 
temporaries at Oxford wrote : " What has 
always most interested me has been the way 
that determination that the right should prevail 
gradually grew into the Perseverance (Eph. 
vi. 18) and Steadfastness (Romans xii. 12, and 
Col. iv. 2) for which he was so well known 
among his intimate friends. I used to mark 
how his (one might call it) obstinacy gradually 
became Trpoa-KapTeptjan^ the determination to fight 
the good fight to the last man and the last 
shilling." 

This element in his character played an 
important part in his career at Southampton. 
Had he confined himself to his strictly pastoral 
work, preaching the Word and ministering the 
Sacraments, renovating the material structure 
of his church, developing its internal life, and 
guiding the souls of his people, he might, when 
once the foolish suspicion of " Popery " had 
subsided, have attained his objects with com- 



50 TEETOTALISM 

parative ease. But the " determination that the 
right should prevail " led him, soon and 
suddenly, into a course of action which was 
certain to excite the most virulent opposition, 
and to react unfavourably on his strictly 
ecclesiastical work. 

When Joseph Chamberlain, at the outset 
of his public career, was recommending the 
Gothenburg system of Licensing, he showed that 
Southampton stood third on the list of drink- 
ridden towns, Canterbury and Cambridge alone 
surpassing it. In Southampton, the proportion 
of Public Houses to population was 1 for every 
110, while 1 person out of every 120 was 
charged with drunkenness. The moral and social 
condition which these figures imply weighed 
heavily on the Rector of St Mary's, whose 
parish contained some of those districts where 
the evils of drunkenness are most clearly and 
most deplorably visible. While he was musing 
on the evil the fire burned, and at last he spake 
with his tongue. The fire was kindled, and 
the tongue was loosed, by a very trivial incident. 
The Bishop of Willesden, then curate of 
St Mary's, gives this account of it : " In October 
1873, Basil and I went to a small Temper- 
ance Meeting in Dock Street, addressed 
by a young book-seller. It was the first 
Temperance Meeting either of us attended, 
and after that evening we never tasted alcohol. 
He came home to supper with me, and 
there was claret on the table, but it was not 



BLUE RIBBON AND BLUE CROSS 51 

touched. The St Mary's Total Abstinence 
Branch of the C.E.T.S. was founded on the 
23rd of November, when he and I together 
signed the pledge." Soon after, Wilberforce 
joined the " Blue Ribbon Army," led by Mr 
Richard Booth ; and later he founded the " Blue 
Cross Guild," over which he presided till the 
end of his life. 

That Wilberforce should himself become an 
abstainer was no great matter, for an instinctive 
refinement of nature, coupled with a delicate 
digestion, made abstinence easy to him. It 
mattered more that he felt himself restrained 
from providing wine for his guests, for he 
was the most hospitable of men, and loved, 
like Charles Lamb, to taste good things " upon 
the tongue of his friend." But what mattered 
most, in its bearing on his happiness and work, 
was that he felt himself divinely called to a 
crusade against drunkenness, and threw himself 
into it with an uncalculating and a whole- 
hearted zeal. He became, at a bound, one of 
the most forcible and popular advocates of 
what was euphemistically called " Temperance," 
but was really total abstinence from alcoholic 
drink. Like Wesley, he took the whole world 
for his parish. From Glasgow to Brighton, from 
Norwich to Cardiff, he rushed with the zeal of 
an apostle, preaching everywhere the gospel 
of social salvation by teetotalism. He was 
accustomed to say that he had preached for 
the cause in every Cathedral of England, 



52 TEETOTALISM 

and in more Parish Churches than could easily 
be counted. His methods may be inferred 
from the following letter, addressed to him 
in 1883, after an unusually successful " Temper- 
ance Mission " at Torquay : 

" I cannot refrain from writing to you, in 
order to express the intense gratification I 
have experienced whilst attending your 
Mission in Torquay. A year ago a similar 
Mission was started here, but as I have always 
been a teetotaler (and therefore require no 
Temperance Physician), and as Temperance 
was the only theme dwelt upon, I could not 
see my way clear to join in the crusade. But 
you, sir, have cut the ground from under my 
feet, of all opposition. You have raised the 
platform. You cry out ' Christianity and then 
Temperance ' ; placing the noblest motive, not 
in the rear, but in the front. This is as it 
should be ; and if any are inclined to doubt it, 
I would wish them to attend next Sunday 
night's Mission (Oh ! that I could be there !) 
and listen to your beautiful eloquence, and 
note its effect upon the vast audience and 
then see if they would be in doubt. There 
are other sins besides Intemperance. Your lofty 
policy scotches that of the great Serpent, in 
that it is no respecter of vices but aims at 
crushing all. Noble work and grand achieve- 
ment, worthy of the glorious name of Wilber- 
force, Another Slavery Abolition ! " 



THE PLATFORM 53 

Effective as a preacher, Wilberforce was 
even more effective as a speaker on the platform, 
where his signal grace of gesture could be seen, 
and where, unrestrained by the conventions of the 
pulpit, he could pour out anecdote, denunciation, 
sarcasm, and humour, in a swiftly-flowing stream 
of facile eloquence. He became a favourite 
orator of the United Kingdom Alliance. He 
patronized the milder activities of the " Church 
of England Temperance Society." At Church 
Congresses he appealed, not unsuccessfully, 
to the consciences of his clerical brethren ; 
and, as years went on, he extended the field of 
his operations to Scotland and Ireland, to India, 
Canada, and the United States. His sermons, 
reprinted as pamphlets " The Amethyst," 
" Sound the Alarm," and " Who is on the Lord's 
side ? " rushed into incredible circulations. 

Of course, the suddenness and vehemence of 
this apostolate provoked amazement, ridicule, 
and wrath. A worthy Alderman of Southamp- 
ton gave utterance to these mingled feelings at 
a dinner of the Licensed Victuallers' Protection 
Association in 1875 : 

" I am sorry in regard to one man for whom 
I have the greatest esteem and respect. 1 
heard him preach a sermon only two years ago 
for the Good Templars I will not mince the 
matter, but will say at once that he was the 
Rector of St Mary's and he took his text from 
the chapter wherein our great Master, when at 



54 TEETOTALISM 

the marriage in Cana of Galilee, turned the 
water into wine ; and he said he could not for 
the life of him see that there was anything 
wrong in the moderate use of wine, because 
his great Master would never have performed 
this miracle if there were. You know what has 
happened since that time. The Rector has 
become a convert, but I can say nothing against 
him for that, as I believe he is most sincere ; 
but my complaint is that men, having made 
up their minds to become Total Abstainers, try 
to make everyone else abstain by force of law." 

Basil Wilberforce replied in a long and 
eloquent letter to the local press, urging the 
sweet reasonableness of the " Permissive Bill," 
and appealing, more cogently, to the Christian 
principle of renunciation for the benefit of 
others. His pen and his tongue were equally 
busy, and all the organs of Teetotalism rejoiced, 
as well they might, in this new and splendid 
championship. 

Of course the orator got into scrapes. He 
would not have been himself if he had not. His 
figures were questioned ; his facts were denied ; 
his authorities were challenged. All sorts of 
grotesque stories were invented he had beaten 
his dog because he saw it coming out of a Public 
House ; he had declared that he would not give 
his wife a prescribed stimulant, even to save her 
from death. To absurdity was added baseness : 
for those who disliked his new activities 



INTEMPERANCE 55 

circulated a story that he had himself been a 
drunkard, and knew by experience the evil which 
he denounced. " This," says his contemporary, 
the Rev. J. J. Mallaby, " was an absolute libel. 
During his Oxford days, he was unusually 
temperate." 

Then again, it was the current sarcasm in 
circles where his zeal was disliked to say : 
" Ah ! there are two kinds of temperance. 
Wilberforce may be temperate in drink, but in 
speech he is most intemperate" and this was 
nearer the mark. Like everyone who has a 
great gift of popular eloquence, he tended to 
exaggeration ; his appeals to emotion were 
stronger than his appeals to reason ; and his 
zeal often carried him into difficult positions. 
Messrs Gilbey were justly incensed when he 
quoted on a platform the ribald rhyme about 
the "Ten little niggers going out to dine." 
When, denouncing the medical use of alcohol, 
he said : " Some doctors, if they went down 
inside you with a lighted candle, could not tell 
what was the matter with you," he infuriated 
the medical profession. When he remonstrated 
with the Prince of Wales on the impropriety 
of presiding at the Annual Dinner of the 
Licensed Victuallers' Association, he was dis- 
tinctly and not unjustly snubbed. A most 
injudicious reference to Queen Victoria's personal 
opinions drew from the Dean of Windsor 1 a 
reminder that "You should not bring forward 

1 G. V. Wellesley. 

I 



56 TEETOTALISM 

the Queen's name at a public meeting, unless 
you can announce upon authority that she is 
on your side of the question." 

A much more serious development of Wilber- 
force's teetotal zeal was his desire to introduce 
unfermented wine into the celebration of the 
Holy Communion. When he was contem- 
plating this innovation, he twice consulted Bishop 
Lightfoot. The bishop's replies are interesting, 
and the second concludes with an admonition 
which certainly was not, and is not, unn ceded : 

" So far as I can make out, the theory that 
unfermented grape-juice was used at the Pass- 
over cannot be maintained. 

" But this does not settle the question. If 
the clergy and church-wardens of a church in 
my diocese were desirous of using unfermented 
wine (from the juice of the grape) I should not 
forbid it. Whether this unfermented grape-juice 
be or be not wine, is more a matter of common 
sense than of theology. 

" The objection to the use of fermented wine 
so very frequently rests upon a false principle, 
that I cannot feel any sympathy with it. The 
only argument which I can allow to have any 
weight is the practical one, from the effect which 
it may have, in extreme cases, of acting as a 
temptation to reclaimed inebriates. But in such 
cases light claret and water has so little 
resemblance in taste or smell to the strong or 
luscious alcoholic drinks which have led to the 



WHAT IS WINE? 57 

sinful habit, that, if it were used, I cannot 
imagine any real danger. 

66 On the other hand, much as I may regret 
what I call the ' theoretical ' scandal, I do not 
think it is entitled to much consideration. This 
would be a concession to a false principle ; and, 
though the Church may possibly lose some 
adherents for a time by not yielding to it, yet 
she will be justified in the end. 

"How widely spread this false principle is, 
we have evidence every day. No one regretted 
more than myself the unguarded language of 
the Bishop of Manchester the other day 1 con- 
sidering the grave interests at stake for the 
base uses which it would be made to serve 
might have been foreseen ; but the adverse 
comments on it, which I have seen, have for 
the most part been supported by the most 
perverse arguments, and (to my judgment at 
least) the falsest principles, which drove me to 
despair. We want to clear the advocacy of 
teetotalism from this initial false assumption 
that alcohol is inherently evil, for it can only 
lead to defeat in the end." 

Another prelate Cardinal Manning had no 
hesitation in treating the point theologically. 
After quoting various theologians of recognized 
authority, he wrote : " From these principles it 

1 Dr Moorhouse, Bishop of Manchester, bore public 
testimony to the value of " light stimulant." See the Times, 
Nov. 24, 1886. 



58 TEETOTALISM 

is evident that mere 'juice' has not as yet the 
character of wine : as vinegar has it no longer. 

" Do not vex yourself on this question. All 
wine in the Old Testament had the quality 
of intoxication, and all refinements upon this 
point are dangerous. There is no more evil 
in the intoxicating power of wine than in the 
explosive power of dynamite." 

Eventually, in deference to the wish of his 
own Bishop, Wilberforce forbore to make the 
perilous change, and adopted the normal prac- 
tice of celebrating with the Mixed Chalice of 
wine and water. 



The following words of Dr Liddon, written 
in 1872, may be here inserted. After saying 
that he cannot get through his double duties 
as Canon of St Paul's and Ireland Professor 
at Oxford, without a distressing sense of the 
miserable way in which they are performed, 
he adds : " I make this confession to you, dear 
friend, that you may understand that it is from 
no lack of sympathy with, or admiration for, 
your noble effort to retrieve the defects and 
mistakes of the past in Southampton that I am 
kept from coming to you in Lent." 

The present Rector of St Mary's the Rev. 
Canon Lovett writes as follows : " No one who 
knew him only in London can have any idea of 
the way Wilberforce impressed Southampton ; 
so that after twenty years his influence con- 
stantly meets one in the personalities of a great 



"BEASTS AT EPHESUS" 59 

variety of people of every class. There is no 
doubt that his unblenching thoroughness in his 
war against alcoholism weighted him heavily 
among large sections of the community but 
his personality and eloquence in those days 
silenced when it did not convince. As far as 
I can judge, working here after the long interval, 
his metier was to inspire people rather than to 
instruct them, to win individuals rather than 
to organize corporate life. In his early days 
here he met with fierce opposition. The last 
time I saw him he said to me that his Father 
in those difficult times compared them to the 
apostolic experience when he * fought with 
beasts at Ephesus ' ; but he left upon Southamp- 
ton an impression which will last longer than the 
generation to which he ministered." 

The Bishop of Willesden, who was ordained 
to the curacy of St Mary's in September 
1871, supplies the following memorandum : 

" From the day when we signed the pledge, 
it is not an exaggeration to say that the interest 
in the weekly Temperance Meetings and the 
Bands of Hope never failed. Thousands of men 
and women must have taken the pledge in that 
school-room, and hundreds privately in his study 
many of whom were sad victims of the drink. 
If they were in earnest they always found a 
hearty reception, however busy he might be. 

" Within a short time the Rector had preached 
in nearly every Cathedral in England, and his 



60 TEETOTALISM 

career as a platform speaker began. Invitations 
poured in from every quarter, and for myself 
I have never heard his equal. He was 
wonderful ; his illustrations were unique ; his 
pathos and humour, with his beautiful voice, 
carried away his audience one moment there 
would be roars of laughter and the next sobs. 
He always lifted the matter on to the highest 
of all lines, and preached Christ as the perfect 
example of sacrifice and the only Helper to 
those who were in the mire of the sin of 
drunkenness. In the ' eighties,' when the Blue 
Ribbon movement was at its height, I have 
seen men and women almost fighting in their 
rush to the platform to sign the pledge after he 
had spoken. From time to time it fell to my 
unhappy lot to go in his place when he was 
utterly unable to fulfil an engagement, and no 
strain on my affection was greater than when 
I consented. He took a strong political line in 
favour of Local Option, and frequently spoke at 
United Kingdom Alliance Meetings with Sir 
Wilfrid Lawson ; and he entered his solemn pro- 
test against the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for 
the number of Public Houses which they allowed 
to remain on church property. He, of course, 
banished all intoxicating drink from his own 
table ; and his enthusiasm and leadership years 
ago emphatically helped to produce the strong 
position held by Temperance Reformers to-day. 
"Among the spiritual influences, I should 
place the Ten Days' Mission held in St Mary's in 



ORGANIZATION 61 

1876 by Canon Body, assisted by Alfred Gurney 
(afterwards Vicar of St Barnabas, Pimlico). 
It brought to a head the teaching which had been 
given, and largely increased the body of devoted 
workers, some of whom remain to this day. 

"The whole Parish was divided into three 
districts, each with its own Mission Hall, but 
the Celebrations were only held at the Parish 
Church, so that in a true sense the Altar 
became the centre of the Parish. The Children's 
Services were a distinct feature, when on Sun- 
day afternoons all the Sunday School children 
were gathered. The Men's Services were also 
full of power. When the Rector did not 
speak himself, he often asked leading preachers 
to come, and on the first Sunday in the month 
the church was often filled with a congregation 
of 1000 men ; and his week-day instructions in 
Advent and Lent attracted large numbers from 
the other parishes in the town. 

" Looking back, and comparing the work in 
St Mary's from 1871 to 1881 with other works 
that I have known, I honestly think that, for 
organization and spiritual influence, St Mary's 
Parish was amongst the best. The true unity 
that existed between the Rector and his curates, 
his intense loyalty, his strong leadership, his 
loving heart as I remember it all, while I feel 
intensely the loss of his presence, I do indeed 
thank God for a lifelong friendship, and for 
the early years of my ministry in St Mary's, 
Southampton." 



CHAPTER IV 

BROADLANDS 

I HEAD this chapter with the name of a place, 
because that place was the source and centre of 
influences which had a dominating effect on the 
later life and ministry of Basil Wilberforce. 

" Broadlands " stands on the river Test, 
immediately to the south of Romsey, famous 
for its noble Abbey; and was the home of 
Lord Palmerston, who died, while Prime 
Minister, in 1865. On the death of Lady 
Palmerston (who had been Lady Cowper), 
Broadlands passed in 1869 to her second son 
by her first marriage, the Right Hon. William 
Cowper, M.P., who thereupon assumed the 
additional name of Temple, was author of the 
" Cowper-Temple Clause " in the Education Act 
of 1870, and in 1880 was raised to the peerage 
as Lord Mount Temple. 

William Cowper had what Tertullian called 
the anima naturaliter Christiana. He had been 
born and brought up in a worldly home, but 
early found the way of peace in Evangelical 

62 



THE FIRST CONFERENCE 63 

religion, which he held to the end, but with a 
marked freedom from pharisaism and narrow- 
mindedness. His wife was a woman of singular 
beauty and dignified charm, an earnest seeker 
after truth, and a zealous promoter of all humane 
endeavours. The charms of the place, the 
character of the host and hostess, and the variety 
of interests represented under its roof, made 
Broadlands one of the most attractive houses in 
England ; and its hospitable doors, distant only 
eight miles from Southampton, were instantly 
thrown open to the young Rector of St Mary's 
and his wife, who, from 1871 onwards, were 
among its most constant frequenters. 

A curious development was at hand ; and 
before long Broadlands became the scene of a 
religious movement, to which England has 
afforded no exact parallel. In 1874, some 
Americans, originally Quakers, who had been 
accustomed to attend camp-meetings in their 
own country, were staying in London, and 
wished to initiate something of the kind in 
England. Through common friends they made 
the acquaintance of Mr and Mrs Cowper-Temple, 
and, when they broached their plan, Mr Cowper- 
Temple said : " I will gladly lend you Broadlands 
for such a purpose, if you will arrange the 
meetings." Naturally, they jumped at the offer ; 
invitations were sent out, and on the 17th of 
July 1874 the first "Broadlands Conference" 
began. 

"About two hundred persons assembled, 

K 



64 BROADLANDS 

forty or fifty as visitors in the house, others 
being accommodated in hotels or lodgings near ; 
all came thirsting for an increase of faith and 
love, and more communion with God and with 
one another." 

The Conference was repeated annually, till 
Lord Mount Temple's death in 1888 ;* and a 
few of those who attended it may be here 
enumerated : Russell Gurney, M.R, Andrew 
Jukes, Bishop Wilkinson, Father Corbet of 
Stoke, Theodore Monod, Pearsall Smith, George 
Macdonald, Arthur Stanton, Alfred Gurney, 
Canon Body, Bishop Boy d- Carpenter, Lord 
Radstoek, Ion Keith -Falconer, Roden Noel, and 
Edward Clifford. To these must be added 
Mrs Charles, authoress of The Schonberg-Cotta 
Family, Miss Charlotte Yonge, Miss Ellice 
Hopkins, Miss Marsh, and Madame Antoinette 
Sterling. It will be readily perceived that in 
this society there was a considerable variety of 
religious opinion ; and among the orators I recall 
a Jew who had been converted by studying 
the Law of Sacrifice, a negress who had been 
a slave, and a retired school-master who taught 
that sin was a disease. The discussions were 
animated, amiable, and desultory. No one 
kept to the prescribed subject. Everyone had 
his own gospel, and preached it. Everyone 
agreed immensely with the last speaker, and 
forthwith proceeded to launch some entirely 

1 In 1880 the scene was temporarily shifted to the 
Deanery at Southampton. 



LORD RADSTOCK 65 

different theory of his own. There was no 
quarrelling, and the mutual admiration was 
perfectly sincere. 

A religious newspaper, reporting the spiritual 
exercises of the week, concluded its notice with 
this characteristic touch: " We are informed that 
the noble host's income is not less than 30,000 
a year " ; and the luxurious appliances of the 
"Broadlands Retreat" made capital fun for people 
accustomed to the more austere regimen of Cowley 
or Keble. And yet, though it was so very easy 
to laugh at them, these Conferences had a real 
value. They brought together earnest people 
who certainly would never have met elsewhere. 
They enabled Ritualists to understand the vital 
element of Evangelical religion. They showed 
Evangelicals that Ritualists were not necessarily 
slaves of the husk and the letter. They 
opened the eyes of orthodox believers to the 
mysterious working of the Spirit of Truth in 
regions far beyond the precincts of all organized 
religion. 

As regards the influence produced on Basil 
Wilberforce, the most important frequenter of 
Broadlands was the third Lord Radstock, who 
lived close to Southampton. Lord Radstock 
was a man of strong and simple character, 
" in his simplicity sublime." He had begun life 
as a fervent member of the Evangelical party in 
the Church of England, he then joined himself 
to the Plymouth Brethren, and he ended as a 
Christian unattached to any denomination. 



66 BROADLANDS 

His self-sacrificing zeal, his passionate earnest- 
ness, and his force of will, produced a strong 
effect on Wilberforce. A clear and concen- 
trated mind often imposes its convictions on a 
more discursive intelligence, and Wilberforce's 
course was visibly affected by Radstock's faith 
and practice. 

In early days at Southampton, Wilberforce 
had been in frequent and animated conflict with 
Nonconformity ; but he now began to extend 
the right hand of fellowship to sectaries of all 
descriptions. C. H. Spurgeon, and Joseph 
Parker, and Mr R. J. Campbell of the City 
Temple, became in turn his friends. By way 
of restoring the balance, he invited Father 
Ignatius to preach at St Mary's, and afterwards 
withdrew the invitation. At one time he was 
invited to preach in a Presbyterian church at 
Glasgow, and was only dissuaded by a Scottish 
dignitary of the English Church, who thought 
that this action would widen rather than narrow 
the chasm between those who believe, and those 
who reject, the Apostolical Succession : at 
another, he desired that some German pastors 
should be permitted to preach in Westminster 
Abbey, and was met by the salutary reminder 
that such a permission "would raise an ill- 
feeling which is ever ready to break out in 
England against Germans." 

He once preached in a Congregational chapel 
at Southampton, and by so doing drew down 
upon himself a grave though gentle remon- 



"EXCHANGE OF PULPITS" 67 

strance from Bishop Harold Browne. The corre- 
spondence between the Bishop and the Rector 
was published, and it ended with these words : 
" One obligation is clearly binding on me 
namely, the law of obedience to the plain 
command of my Bishop ; and, if I understand 
your lordship not to remonstrate merely, but 
distinctly and authoritatively as my Bishop to 
forbid my preaching to my parishioners within 
the walls of a Nonconformist Chapel, I shall, 
pending the decision of a Court of Law, loyally 
and unhesitatingly obey you." 

The Bishop had explicitly declared that he 
did not rest his prohibition on legal grounds, 
but solely on his spiritual authority ; so the 
" decision of a Court of Law " was never sought, 
and the incident passed off in a cloud of 
pamphlets. Newspapers published long articles 
on the " Exchange of Pulpits," Convocation 
debated it, and Wilberforce became, at anyrate 
for the moment, a prime favourite in Non- 
conformist circles. 

So far, I have traced what may be called 
the "lowering" influence of Broadlands on 
Wilberforce's theology ; but this was in its 
effects less permanent than the "broadening" 
influence which issued from the same place. 
Among those who frequented the Conferences, 
I have mentioned the Rev. R. W. Corbet 
(still spared to the Church), who, in 1869, 
founded a "Society of the Holy Spirit, for 
study, converse, and devotion." It is difficult 



68 BROADLANDS 

to describe the doctrine or method of a living 
theologian without incurring the risk of con- 
tradiction ; but I think Mr Corbet will not 
demur when I speak of him as being profoundly 
and essentially a Mystic. To analyse, with any 
approach to exhaustiveness, the meanings of 
that term would invite disputation ; so here 
I will only say that the elements in Mr Corbet's 
teaching which specially appealed to Wilber- 
force were the keen sense of spiritual beauty, 
the habit of looking, through the letter, to the 
inner meaning, of Holy Scripture, and the deep 
conviction of the all-embracing and all-explaining 
Love of the Universal Father. As years went 
on, these features became more and more 
strongly marked in Wilberforce's ministry, and 
his correspondence gives abundant proof of 
his debt to the teaching which he had received 
at Broadlands. 

In 1877 the Church had been agitated by 
some wild sermons on Eschatology, which 
Dr Farrar published under the title of Eternal 
Hope. In 1880, Dr Pusey, who had been 
hindered by illness and bereavement, published 
a reply : What is of Faith as to Everlasting- 
Punishment ? Wilberforce, who was always 
a good deal swayed by what was in the air, 
delivered in October, November, and December 
1880, "A Course of Instructions upon the 
After-Death State." His subjects were : 1. "The 
Difficulty Stated"; 2. "Future Punishment; 
Corrective and not Endless " ; 3. " The Fire of 



AFTER DEATH 69 

God " ; 4. " Future Punishment not Annihila- 
tion " ; 5. " As in Adam all Die, so in Christ 
shall all be made Alive " ; 6. " The Preaching 
of Christ to the Spirits in Prison " ; 7. " The 
Intermediate State." His line of thought was 
what is commonly called Universalism or 
Restitutionism ; and naturally his utterances 
pleased a good many people, and shocked 
others. In the latter class was one of his 
clerical neighbours, whom, after some friendly 
correspondence, he invited to come and dis- 
cuss the question with Father Corbet at the 
Deanery. The following letter, written after 
the discussion, illustrates the influence exercised 
by the student over the preacher : 

"If you and Fr. Corbet are human, you 
will have some curiosity as to my feelings 
after last evening's * chat.' First, then, I had 
a disagreeable feeling of having been trapped. It 
seemed to me that it would have been better . . . 
if your invitation had run thus 6 Come and 
meet a man who is my Pope on this question 
infallible, or with a thoroughly crystallized 
conception of the views in question ; come and 
be punched.' ... It seems to me that those 
who take a different view from your own are 
rather Micaiahs in your eyes." 

Andrew Jukes, who, whatever else he was, 
was a theological scholar, wrote as follows when 
urging Wilberforce to publish his addresses : 



70 BROADLANDS 

" They are far, far the best addresses I have 
ever seen upon the subject, very far indeed 
beyond Farrar's Eternal Hope. He is very 
strong as a rhetorician ; but your Instructions 
have been really instructions, quite as eloquent 
as Farrar's, and far more thoughtful and far 
more scriptural. Farrar's very rhetoric on a 
subject like that of future judgment grates upon 
my ears. His words are so strong on this 
point one wants strong thoughts more than 
strong words." 

Even Bishop Harold Browne, whose very 
name was a synonym for orthodoxy, did not 
condemn the sermons, but regarded them with 
a gentle and qualified approval ; while he laid 
stress upon the limits which God has set to 
our knowledge of His invisible world. 

At Broadlands, as I showed above, there was 
an abundance of lively oracles ; and no one was 
more oracular than James Williamson Farquhar, 
who was styled by his admirers " Le Pliilosophe 
Inconnu." He was an ancient Scotsman, whose 
beginnings were wrapped in mystery : he had 
been a Presbyterian, then a Swedenborgian, then 
a Spiritualist, and had even " lectured on behalf 
of Atheism." In the end, he " came to rest in 
a sort of tranquil Universalism, believing that 
there was something good in every positive 
opinion," and felt himself " able to worship any- 
where." Indeed, as he was "a whole-hearted 
and practical determinist," it could not have 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION 71 

mattered much to him where he worshipped, 
or whether he worshipped at all. He published 
a book called The Gospel of Divine Humanity, 
and anyone who reads it can easily discern the 
influence which his mind exercised on the later 
ministry of Basil Wilberforce. 

It was at Broadlands that the two men met ; 
and the first result of their meeting was the 
following invitation, which Wilberforce issued 
to some of his friends and neighbours : 

"PRIVATE. 

" DEANERY, SOUTHAMPTON, 
"October, 1881. 

" A series of Conversations on the Philosophy 
of Religion will take place (D. V.) at the Deanery, 
on ten consecutive Monday Evenings, from 
5 to 7, commencing October 31. The subject 
for each Monday will be introduced by a Paper, 
which will be read by Mr J. W. Farquhar, 
after which free discussion will be invited. 

" The subjects and dates are as follows : 

Oct. 31 . . God. 

Nov. 7 . . Revelation. 

14 . . Faith. 

21 . The Prenatal Life, and Birth 

of Christ. 

28 . . The Gospel. 

Dec. 5 . . The Atonement. 

12 . . The Trinity. 

19 . The Sacraments. 

26 . The Divine Humanity. 

Jan. 2 . . The Last Judgement. 

L 



72 BROADLANDS 

"It is particularly requested that all who 
take part in these gatherings will make it a 
subject of earnest prayer, that the Conversa- 
tions may be guided by the Holy Spirit of 
God." 

One of those invited made the following 
reply : 

" Your invitation to the series of Conversa- 
tions at the Deanery has puzzled me a good 
deal. The general subject, ' The Philosophy 
of Religion,' is of such stupendous import, 
and the several subjects given will require such 
reverent, exact, and careful treatment, that I 
shrink very much from embarking on their 
discussion unless I can feel some confidence in 
the man to whose leadership the discussion is 
to be entrusted. For a ' free discussion ' of 
such subjects, I consider a body composed of 
such average members as myself wholly un- 
qualified. Trained theologians alone are com- 
petent to discuss them, or perhaps I should 
say that it is only safe to discuss them under 
the eye and with the guidance of trained 
theologians. The philosophy of any science 
surely would be torn to rags and tatters if 
discussed by others than experts. I tremble to 
think of the amount of nonsense, or worse, 
that may be talked unless we have some pro- 
tection against 'philosophy falsely so called,' 
and amongst ourselves, I really see no one able 



DOUBTS AND RUMOURS 73 

to do this. Before deciding whether to accept 
or decline your invitation I should very much 
like to know 1. Who Mr J. W. Farquhar is ? 
Is he a Churchman ? a Clergyman ? Is your 
invitation confined to the Clergy ? If not, whom 
have you included ? and whom may we expect 
to meet ? May I further ask, What is the force 
of the word Private at the head of your 
invitation ? " 

The force of the word "Private" was that 
Farquhar's papers were not to be reported ; 
but a rumour of strange teachings went abroad, 
and the clergyman who had made these very 
pertinent enquiries seems to have thought that 
the matter might be usefully considered by 
the Ruridecanal Chapter. Basil Wilberforce 
thought otherwise, and his friend thus replied, 
on the 18th of February 1882 : 

" I have quite made up my mind not to 
suggest the subject I mentioned to you for 
Chapter discussion. Whatever I might say, 
there are those who might think that we 
were sitting in judgment upon you, and I 
quite agree with you in thinking that this is 
beyond our powers. And from what you say 
it is clear that you would have something 
of the same sort of feeling, so I shall try to 
evolve some other less dangerous subject for 
discussion. 

"I really think you wholly misunderstand 



I1RDADV CT IAADVC r/M I C/-I? 



74 BROADLANDS 

the feeling of the Clergy of our Deanery towards 
yourself when you talk of their hating you. 
It is not the case far from it. I quite 
grant that you and your doings are freely dis- 
cussed, and some blame you, and are fierce 
in their condemnation of your action now 
and then, but no one who knows you ever 
expresses one word of 'hatred' towards you, 

even when you may vex them most. Mr 

is a new man, and does not know you, and 
moreover is, entre nous, an ass, and brayeth 
loudly. 

" But you must not mistake the feeling of 
the Clergy generally towards yourself, and it is 
a great mistake to talk about their ' hating ' 
you. If you think they do, you will soon make 
them do so. Perhaps few are more exercised 
by your doings and sayings at times than this 
' old bigot,' but I am sure that you will believe 
me when I say that you have a very warm 
place in my heart, and that my affection for 
you is very real and true. I am not fond of 
declarations of this kind, but your letter calls 
it out. Please believe it." 

What this wise and faithful friend said of 
his own feelings was true of many others, both 
at the time at which he wrote and in succeed- 
ing years. Much that Wilberforce said and did 
(as, for example, when he invited an unbaptized 
Hindoo to preach in his church) was perplex- 
ing, and even distressing, to such of his friends 



PERPLEXITY AND TRUST 75 

as valued accurate theology and consistent 
churchmanship. But that perplexity even 
that distress never impaired their sense of his 
truly lovable nature, or blinded them to his 
genuine enthusiasm for truth, and righteousness, 
and mercy. 



CHAPTER V 

POLITICS 

To describe the political faith and action of 
Basil Wilberforce is no easy task. He had 
been trained in an hereditary reverence for 
Gladstone, in detestation of the Whigs, and in 
friendly relations with the Tories. He believed 
himself to be a Liberal, and professed to feel 
the existence of a Conservative Government as a 
burden and a grief; but it was impossible to 
predict the line which he would take in any 
political emergency. 

It is, I think, quite clear that it was 
Teetotalism which definitely attached him to 
the Liberal party. We have seen in a previous 
chapter that he was suddenly and whole-heartedly 
converted to the faith of Total Abstinence ; and 
perhaps it was the most abiding enthusiasm of 
his life. His conversion took place in the days 
of the "Permissive Bill," and he became a 
strenuous supporter of that impracticable policy. 
Broadly, the Liberal party was the party of 
Temperance, though there were a great many 
Liberals who would have nothing to do with 



70 



RELIGION AND POLITICS 77 

Total Prohibition ; and men who were in earnest 
about legislative remedies for drunkenness 
almost inevitably tended to the Liberal side. 
Was it right for the Rector of St Mary's to 
identify himself with a party with which, on some 
points of its programme, e.g. Disestablishment, 
he did not agree ? In this perplexity, he sought 
counsel from one who, in spite of manifold 
differences, had been his father's friend. Here 
is the reply : 

"Nov. 17/77. 

" MY DEAR MR WILBERFORCE, Your letter 
is a curious one to be addressed to me. I wish 
I could answer it in any satisfactory way. 

" I do not wish to see Ministers of the 
Established Church or of the Nonconformist 
Churches entering largely into the strife of 
politics, but I think they are called on to take 
their part in public affairs with that modera- 
tion and good example which belong to their 
special Christian character and office. Dissent- 
ing Congregations are almost all Liberal, and 
their Ministers are generally so, but only a few 
Ministers step out into the political field, and 
then chiefly when questions affecting Noncon- 
formists are before the public. On the other 
hand, Church Congregations are much more 
Tory than Liberal, and yet there must be some 
Liberals, and some fairly influential ones, in 
most of the Congregations. 

" I think a Clergyman should think first of 



78 POLITICS 

his duty as a Clergyman, and to his Congrega- 
tion, or flock, or parish and this will probably 
in many cases prevent him from being prominent 
in political action to which his flock are 
opposed but I should hope it is possible for 
him in a manner at once mild and yet firm to 
give his vote for a Liberal Candidate, and to 
allow his sympathy for him and his views to 
be known, without exciting the anger and 
opposition of those to whom he ministers. 

"Some years ago it was said that my 
neighbour, Mr Molesworth, excited the anger 
of his Tory Congregation or the Tories in 
his Congregation by referring in a sermon to 
the duty of electors to vote conscientiously, 
and to the expression of some approval of the 
ballot. It is said that he was on the point 
of resigning his living owing to the opposition 
to him excited by what he had said. But a 
better feeling prevailed, and the Congregation 
would not part with him, and I have not heard 
that his influence is impaired. 

" One of the arguments in favour of your 
Church is that its Ministers are more inde- 
pendent of their Congregations than is the 
case among Dissenters surely, then, the inde- 
pendence may be shown in the freedom with 
which your Ministers may act in the field of 
public duty outside the duties of the services 
and the pulpit. 

" But there is always one great difficulty 
in your way. You are Ministers of a State 



JOHN BRIGHT'S COUNSEL 79 

Church, and constantly questions are turning 
up which touch the very principle on which 
you depend or exist. So you can hardly 
separate real public interests from your personal 
position and the special privileges of your 
Church. In the question of the Burials Bill 1 
this is eminently the case. If the Grave Yard 
were not surrounding the Church, and if the 
Clergyman were not freeholder in regard to it, 
and if he did not think his personal rights and 
supremacy were assailed, he could not possibly 
work himself into a great ferment on this Bill. 

" It seems to me a fatal difficulty that from 
your position you are expected to be Tory, 
and that from their position within the borders 
of a State Church your Congregations must 
almost of necessity be Tories. It seems a 
condemnation of the theory and policy of 
a State Church. As to your own position, 
you are active and most useful on the Temper- 
ance Question you need not make political 
speeches, but you need not conceal your views 
on public questions. 

" The good Spirit which guides you, I doubt 
not, in other things will guide you in respect 
of the political branch of your duty, whenever 
you have to deal with it. Forgive this poor 
reply, and believe me, with high regard, very 
sincerely yours, 

"JOHN BRIGHT." 

1 The Conservative Government had just brought in a 
" Burials Act Consolidation Bill." 

M 



80 POLITICS 

An occasion soon arose which forced the 
Rector of St Mary's to define his position. 
Southampton was a constituency returning two 
members, and since the Reform Act of 1832, 
it had constantly oscillated between the Liberals 
and the Conservatives. At the General Election 
of 1874, a Liberal had been returned at the 
head of the poll, with a Conservative, Russell 
Gurney, Q.C., Recorder of London, in the 
second place. In June 1878 Gurney died, and 
a contest for the vacant seat arose between 
Alfred Giles, a Conservative and Chairman of 
the Union Steamship Company, and a Liberal 
lawyer, H. M. Bompas. Giles was opposed to 
the Permissive Bill ; Bompas was more or less 
friendly to it ; and, though he was a Dissenter 
and an advocate of Disestablishment, Wilber- 
force supported him. Of course this action 
created an enormous hubbub ; and a Tory 
nobleman, living near Southampton, uttered 
the thoughts of many hearts in the following 
letter : 

" I could never have believed it possible that 
you would support a Radical Dissenter for 
Southampton, still less that you would nominate 
him, and yet, alas ! it is true. I was even more 
grieved to hear what you had said ( That you 
would rather vote for ten Radical Dissenters 
who would support the Permissive Bill, than one 
Churchman and Conservative who would not 
do so.' . 



LIBERALISM 81 

" You are now engaged in building up your 
church, and yet you are helping one to a place 
of power to destroy it. How could you, with 
such opinions, ever ask Churchmen to help you 
in this work ? It would be as well for us to 
cast our money into the sea, and I would rather 
do so than help to lay a stone of a fabric for 
one who builds it up with one hand and with 
the other helps the enemy to pull it down. . . . 
Many very dear memories come up to my 
mind ; recollections which make my heart 
ache, while I say to myself, Can it be that 
this has come over our beloved Bishop's 
son ? " 

But, in spite of Wilberforce's support, Bompas 
was beaten, as he himself said, " mainly through 
the opposition of the Licensed Victuallers," 
and was politely told by the Liberal Association 
that he need not stand again. They thought, and 
probably with perfect truth, that " the Temper- 
ance party lost the election." 

This untowardly ended Wilberforce's first 
intervention in active politics ; but he was now 
definitely committed to the Liberal side, and he 
remained faithful to it, in his own eclectic and 
incalculable way, to the end of his life. When 
Gladstone was converted to Home Rule, Wilber- 
force espoused the new policy : after the General 
Election of 1886, he wished to see it abandoned 
or modified. In 1889 he was again an enthusi- 
astic Gladstonian, and in June of that year he 



82 POLITICS 

entertained the Liberal leader and a great 
concourse of his supporters in the grounds of 
the Deanery at Southampton. 1 

When Gladstone retired, Wilberforce became 
an adherent of Lord Rosebery ; supported the 
South African War ; and has been heard to say 
that he "would be very glad to see a tax on 
bread." In brief, his political action was 
incalculable ; and yet there was substantial 
justice in what the Prime Minister said when 
offering him the Deanery of Peterborough in 
1908 "Your appointment would be properly 
regarded not only as a tribute to your great 

1 He was probably influenced by his uncle, Cardinal 
Manning, who in 1886 had written with his habitual wisdom : 
" Now for Ireland. My mind is this 

" 1 . The integrity of the Empire and of the Imperial 

Parliament must be maintained inviolate and 

inviolable. 
"2. This granted, I would give to Ireland a true and 

effective power of managing its own local and 

internal interests. 

" I have been disappointed in Gladstone's Bill 

"1. It mutilated the Imperial Parliament. 

" 2. It made a legislature for Ireland, which so far as I 

can see or hear could not work. 
ft 3. It called it a ( Parliament,' which will generate all 

kinds of false ideas, aspirations, pretensions, and 

conflicts. 

"As to our people in Southampton, I take it that every 
Irish Vote will go for Gladstone and that will be in confuso 
for Home Rule in some wiser and better form." 



RECOGNITION 83 

services to the Church and to the House of 
Commons, but also as some slight recognition 
of the strenuous work which you have done for 
Liberal causes, and in particular for Temperance 
reform." 



CHAPTER VI 

ILLNESS 

WE saw in the opening chapter that Basil 
Wilberforce had been physically delicate in 
boyhood and early manhood. Strength seemed 
to come with years, and his nervous energy 
braced him for efforts, especially in the way 
of public speaking, from which robuster men 
might have shrunk. He was troubled by a 
poor digestion, which necessitated a rigid 
discipline in diet, and instantly avenged the 
slightest departure from it. It was remarked 
by one who knew him well, that no one ever 
did so much work on so little food. He suffered 
acutely from a malady called vertigo oculorum, 
which produced the effect of temporary blind- 
ness, and, while it lasted, made reading from 
print or even manuscript impossible. 

The climate of Southampton never suited 
him, and he was obliged to escape from it 
whenever possible for a gallop in the New Forest 
(which he thoroughly enjoyed), or for a trip 
on the Continent (which he enjoyed less). 
After fourteen years of hard and anxious labour 



84 



DANGER 85 

in St Mary's parish and on Teetotal platforms 
everywhere, the minor ailments from which he 
always suffered came to a head in dangerous 
illness. In the summer of 1885, he was laid 
low by an intestinal abscess, and he under- 
went a critical operation at a house in Great 
Stanhope Street, kindly placed at his disposal 
by his devoted friends, Lord and Lady Mount 
Temple. The operation was severe, and the 
recovery tedious ; but the whole experience 
revealed a fund of vigour in his constitution 
which might scarcely have been suspected in 
so fragile a frame. 

When the danger had happily passed over, 
the doctor who always attended him wrote as 
follows : 

"I think you have battled through a very 
painful and suffering illness with great patience 
and courage, and I felt it a great privilege in 
having the opportunity of doing all I had the 
power of doing to assuage your very severe 
pains. I was not able to see Sir Joseph Lister 
until this morning, when his reply to your 
question was that he considered you ought to 
desist from preaching or addressing meetings 
until there was more evidence of the abscess 
having healed. In this I quite agree. Do all 
in your power to gain strength, and that will 
help the healing process." 

Sir Andrew Clark, who had attended as 
consulting physician, wrote as follows : 



86 ILLNESS 

" I am so touched by your letter and by the 
> example you have given me, and indeed many 
others, of your resignation, fortitude, devout- 
ness, fervour, and humility, that I cannot choose 
but write and tell you so. 

" In how many ways your illness may be 
sanctified and blessed, I do not pretend even 
to imagine ; but, as far as I am concerned, 
in one way at least, in the way of connecting 
my daily work with something higher and also 
deeper than merely professional and personal 
ends, your illness will be a lasting influence and 
presence for good." 

As soon as Wilberforce was well enough 
to travel, he went to a delightful villa, lent 
to him by Lord and Lady Mount Temple, on 
Babbacombe Cliff, near Torquay, and there he 
wrote the following letter of thanksgiving : 

"BABBACOMBE CLIFF, 
"July 12, 1885. 

"MY DEAR PARISHIONERS, CONGREGATION, 
AND FRIENDS, You will, I am convinced, 
understand the intense desire I have long felt 
to hold some more direct and personal com- 
munion with you all, and to express to you my 
heartfelt appreciation of the loving solicitude 
which has possessed you on my behalf. The 
very trying nature of my illness, with its 
frequent and unexpected relapses, the great 
uncertainty of its issue, and my extreme 



"THIS BODY OF HUMILIATION" 87 

subsequent weakness, have combined to keep 
me hitherto silent. If it is the Will of God 
to permit me once more to worship in your 
midst, I shall, as is meet, publicly return 
thanks in our own Church for my restoration ; 
but I feel that the time has come when I can 
ask you to unite with me in offering unto the 
Father of all mercies my most humble and 
hearty thanks for all His goodness and loving- 
kindness, and especially for His late mercies 
vouchsafed unto me. 

" I dare not assume that I am as yet 
restored to health ; there is still much that is 
amiss with " this body of my humiliation " ; 
it is not improbable that I may never be 
restored to the same physical activity as before, 
and it is impressed upon me that, if I am again 
to work even moderately in the Lord's Vineyard, 
I must be content to live more or less the life 
of an invalid for some time to come ; but my 
heart is full of thankfulness for the measure 
of restoration granted to me, and this thank- 
fulness I ask you to help me express before 
the Throne of Grace on Sunday, July 12, 
on which day I hope to be able to attend the 
mid-day celebration of Holy Communion in 
Babbacombe Church. 

" I will not risk distressing any by even a 
superficial description of the very serious illness 
through which the Great Physician has led 
me. It has pleased God to seal my sonship 
and assure me of my reception with the scourge 

N 




88 ILLNESS 

of intense and prolonged suffering, during 
which He never permitted me for one moment 
to doubt His love, or to forget the powerful 
words of comfort in the Epistle to the Hebrews : 
'My son, despise not thou the chastening of 
the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of 
Him ; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, 
and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.' 
The furnace of His Fatherly chastening was 
indeed heated seven-fold, but there was ever 
with me the presence of the Mystic Fourth 
(Daniel iii.), whose form is that of the Son of 
\_God. More than once the veil of this earthly 
tabernacle, which hides from us eternal things, 
was worn very thin, and I have found myself 
face to face with death. At those supreme 
moments, the intense reality of the magnificent 
Gospel of our redemption took full possession 
of my soul ; upon the very threshold of the 
judgement-seat of the All-Pure Almighty One 
(for it is appointed unto all men once to die, 
and after that the judgement), I was filled with 
the conviction that I had nothing but the 
entire sufficiency of Christ to lean upon ; 
looking at self, I could say nought but ' I have 
left undone those things which I ought to have 
done, and I have done those things which I 
ought not to have done, and there is no health 
in me ' ; looking at Jesus, the answer came full 
and clear : ' The Lord hath laid on Him the 
iniquity of us all ' ; ' There is therefore now 
no condemnation to them that are in Christ 



" PRAYED BACK " 89 

Jesus.' Only suffer me to emphasize this fact, 
if I had not long since, in the time of my 
health, solemnly accepted God's way of Salva- 
tion, and taken Christ to be my Saviour, I could 
not have done it then. I have now experienced 
for myself that what is called a death-bed 
repentance is a delusion and a snare ; with a 
body weakened by disease, with nerves of 
sensation dulled, with powers of thinking almost 
suspended, it is not possible intelligently to 
enter into that definite transaction whereby 
the sins of a lifetime are cast on the Son of 
God, and the peace of forgiveness flows into 
the soul ; and it is everything at those moments 
of approaching dissolution, though conscious 
of entire unworthiness and much imperfection, 
to possess the deep inward peace which flows 
from acceptance with God, and which justifies 
the utterance : ' Thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul.' 

" When I think of the incessant fervent 
intercessions of the Lord's children which have 
been ascending on my behalf, I feel that I have 
been prayed back from the gates of the grave ; 
a new responsibility rests now upon those who 
have thus interceded ; it is that they shall now 
pray for me ' that my heart may be unfeignedly 
thankful, and that I may show forth His praise, 
not only with my lips, but in my life.' Let 
this be the prayer of my friends this day, 
when it is announced amongst you that your 
Rector * desires to offer up his praises and 









90 ILLNESS 

thanksgiving for God's late mercies vouchsafed 
unto him.' 

"The grace of God abide with you all. I 
am, yours in Christ Jesus, 

"BASIL WlLBERFORCE." 



So all was going happily, when some fanatics 
of Teetotalism involved Wilberforce and his 
friends in a vexatious controversy. In a letter 
which was publicly read at a " Blue Ribbon " 
Meeting at Southampton, Wilberforce had said : 
" It is a great satisfaction to me, and I am sure 
it will be also to my friends in this movement, 
that it has pleased God to carry me through my 
recent very severe illness without the assistance 
of strong drink. In my determination with 
regard to this, I was very good-naturedly assisted 
by the eminent medical men who were in 
attendance upon me." Hereupon a gossiping 
lady told a friend that the statement was untrue, 
for brandy had been administered to Wilber- 
force by his doctors. The friend immediately 
published the lady's statement ; and such papers 
as the Christian World and the Blue Ribbon 
Chronicle opened their columns to an animated 
discussion of the question Brandy or No 
Brandy ? Finally, Wilberforce was asked to 
decide the question, and, as he had been 
unconscious during part of his illness, he 
referred it to Sir Andrew Clark, who replied 
as follows : 



AMERICA 91 

" Sir Prescott Hewett and Mr Butt on one 
occasion, in the discharge of their responsi- 
bilities, deemed it their duty to prescribe a 
small portion of alcohol for you, and you un- 
wittingly took it. 

"When I met my colleagues and became 
acquainted with the circumstances in which the 
alcohol was prescribed, I concurred in the 
propriety of what they had done. They had 
doubts as to your safety ; and in the state of 
their knowledge and belief they had no justi- 
fiable solution of their doubts but in the action 
which they took. This action may have been 
necessary or unnecessary ; but, trying it by 
any acknowledged criterion of morality, it 
was for my colleagues, in the circumstances, 
right. 

" I am much concerned to think that your 
convalescence should be burdened and perhaps 
hindered by this unfortunate and vexatious 
circumstance; but, as the quantity of alcohol 
administered was minute, as you were not kept 
alive by it, I think that you ought to accept in 
silence whatever may be said." 

After so severe a trial of strength as is 
involved in a grave operation and a slow 
recovery, it was judged expedient that Wilber- 
force should seek complete change of scene and 
interests ; so, in 1887, he paid a visit to the 
United States and Canada, where he made 
prodigal use of his restored energy in preaching 



92 ILLNESS 

and speaking for Total Abstinence, and enlisting 
recruits for his great campaign. Three years 
later, he paid a similar visit to India ; and 
on this journey he combined his attacks on 
drink with an almost equally vigorous attack on 
the opium-traffic. 1 After a " Temperance Meet- 
ing" at Calcutta, attended by more than 2000 
people, the Rev. Alfred Clifford 2 reported that 
the hall had never, on any occasion, been so full. 
" Two hundred and thirty-four persons signed 
the pledge in the room, and members took away 
cards who could not get to the table to sign at 
the time. No doubt many of those who signed, 
however, were already abstainers." 

It is possible that these great exertions were 
too much for a sensitive frame ; and in particular 
it would seem that the habit of incessant speaking 
in crowded halls, and then going out into the 
night air, was injurious to his breathing organs. 
He became subject to attacks of bronchial 
catarrh, and at the beginning of 1903 it was 
discovered that he was suffering from an 
uncomfortable condition of the lungs, called 
emphysema. He was medically restrained from 
preaching the Jubilee Sermon of the " United 
Kingdom Alliance" in October 1903. This 
difficulty of respiration was in its nature incur- 
able, and liable to serious aggravation from 
over-exertion or exposure. It remained with 

1 On both these journeys he was accompanied by his 
wife and daughter ; and on the second by Lord Radstock. 
' 2 Afterwards Bishop of Lucknow. 



LIMITATIONS 93 

him as a peril and a hindrance to the end of 
his days, and was indeed the immediate cause of 
his final release from the burden of the flesh. 

One or two letters addressed at different 
times to his brother Ernest, to Mrs Ernest 
Wilberforce, and to Mrs Reginald Wilberforce, 
may be here inserted : 

"Feb. 6, 1903. 

" Sir James Sawyer's consultation lasted an 
hour and a half, and, short of skinning me, he 
examined every inch of me. He endorses 
Williams's diagnosis there is emphysema all 
round, also chronic disorganization of the 
bronchia. He does not wish me to go away. 
I said not a word about it he initiated the 
question he wishes to treat me somewhat 
elaborately for a month, and I am to see him 
again this day month ; he has knocked off most 
of my work, prescribed various medicines, 
rubbings, etc., also some breathing exercises 
which a Sandow man is to superintend ; he 
does not pretend he can cure or restore the cells 
that are broken up, but feels confident that he 
can so improve the general condition that the 
mischief shall not increase. It is all muck better 
than I had dared to anticipate, and I am pro- 
foundly thankful to our Heavenly Father. 
Sawyer is a man who inspires one with con- 
fidence he was very direct and positive, and 
indeed peremptory. I told him I had come 
prepared to obey him absolutely." 



94 ILLNESS 

"July 1, 1903. 

" I have been so very seedy lately, but don't 
say anything about it to the wife as it upsets 
her. I have had constantly what they call in 
the old books vertigo oculorum, and for half 
an hour at a time am quite blind. Thank God 
it has never yet come when taking Prayers at 
the House or when preaching a written sermon. 
Sir James Sawyer says it is from want of 
nourishment to the brain, and I am taking all 
sorts of things and hope to be better; but 
I have lost a stone in weight, and my bones 
are sticking out ! What ' vile bodies ' we have ! 
St Paul was quite right. However, I am now 
off to make a speech in the East End, and am 
scraping through my work." 

"Sept. 6, 1909. 

" I was in bed all yesterday the fact is, that 
that emphysema which has been dormant for 
two years has been active again. I welcome 
it open-armed, but our Good God is holding 
our lives in His hand, and we ought not to 
have any wishes in that direction." 

March 9, 1912. 

" I quite hoped humbly and not the least 
morbidly that I should have gone to Them this 
time, but they are patching me up, and I just 
say, ' Let His Will be done.' My symptoms 
are all much better, but I don't feel better, and 
breathing bothers me." 



"ALL IS WELL" 95 

"Feb. 12, 1914. 

" I am very slowly picking up a little strength, 
and do not look ahead. The loss of my faithful 
Ward 1 is an almost bewildering blow. I felt 
so sure she would close my eyes but all is 
well. God is Love. Our dear ones are near 
us, and happy." 

1 Julia Ward had been Mrs Wilberforce's devoted maid, 
and remained with the Archdeacon after his great bereave- 
ment. 



CHAPTER VII 

WESTMINSTER 

IT had long been a matter of surprise to Basil 
Wilberforce's friends that he was not elevated 
to some official station higher than that of a 
Rector and an Honorary Canon. In 1882, his 
brother Ernest, only a year older than himself, 
had been appointed by Gladstone to the newly- 
created See of Newcastle ; and when, in 1892, 
Gladstone became Prime Minister for the fourth 
time, there was a general feeling that Basil's 
chance had come. 1892 and 1893 passed, and 
the great man gave no sign. Early in 1894, 
it became known that he was likely to retire. 
February found Basil busy in the usual round 
of parochial work at St Mary's sermons and 
classes, meetings and committees. On the 16th 
of February his diary records, in emphatic 
capitals, " Letter from G. O. M. OFFER OF 
WESTMINSTER CANONRY." 
The letter ran as follows : 

"Feb. 15/94. 

" DEAR CANON WILBERFORCE, I have 
learned your desire to leave your present benefice, 

96 



THE CANONRY 97 

and I have been glad to find an opportunity for 
offering you a removal which would give you a 
well-deserved distinction and a larger promise 
of active service in and to the Church. 

" Canon Furse takes the Canonry of West- 
minster, vacant by the death of Canon Rowsell, 
and vacates his own Canonry with the Parish 
of St John's. It is the joint appointment which 
I have received permission to offer you. 

" There is one word collateral (and only 
collateral) to this offer, which I am sure you 
will permit me to say. You have been 

distinguished doctrine. I rather believe 

on the grounds that this pulpit 

" Believe me, with every good wish, most 
faithfully yours, 

" W. E. GLADSTONE." 

The blanks mark passages where the letter 
has been mutilated ; but the nature of the 
" collateral " word may be easily inferred from 
the terms of Wilberforce's reply. Gladstone 
had no sympathy with the gospel of Teetotalism, 
and evidently suggested that crotchets of this 
kind could not be suitably urged from the pulpit 
of Westminster Abbey. 

"Feb. 19/94. 

"MY DEAR MR GLADSTONE, I had the 
honour to acknowledge formally, by return of 
post, through Mr Lyttelton, 1 your most kind 

1 The Hon. Spencer Lyttelton, Mrs Gladstone's nephew, 
was then acting as the Prime Minister's Private Secretary. 



98 WESTMINSTER 

letter conveying to me the offer of the joint 
appointment to a Westminster Canonry and the 
Parish of St John's. 

"The responsibilities attached to St John's 
caused me at first some hesitation, as I have 
laboured for twenty-three years in a populous 
town parish, and have twice broken down in 
health ; but the privilege and distinction of so 
close a connection with the Abbey cannot but 
be more than sufficient to outweigh all other 
considerations. And I now write to accept, 
with sincere and heart-felt gratitude, the 
appointment you have done the great honour 
and peculiar kindness to offer me. 

" May I be permitted to add that I entirely 
appreciate and thank you for your valuable 
advice as to the discretion essential in the use 
of the Abbey pulpit ? I shall ever retain your 
caution in my heart, and shall earnestly seek 
Divine strength and guidance that I may do 
my duty in the new and important sphere 
in the Church of God to which you have 
appointed me. 

" I have the honour to remain, with much 
loyalty and respect, most faithfully yours, 

" BASIL WlKBERFORCE." 

This was the last ecclesiastical appointment 
that Gladstone ever made (for he ceased to be 
Prime Minister on the 3rd of March), and in 
some respects it was one of his happiest. It 
gave the Abbey a preacher of fascinating 



DEAN'S YARD 99 

eloquence ; it reinforced good causes which in 
London lacked assistance ; and it helped to 
retain within the Communion of the Church 
many who, but for Wilberforce's influence, 
would have " gone astray in the wilderness out 
of the way, and found no city to dwell in." 

On Sunday, the 17th of June 1894, Wilber- 
force preached his last sermon in St Mary's ; 
on the 19th he celebrated a Farewell Eucharist ; 
and before the week was over he had departed 
in a shower of testimonials and addresses which 
expressed a genuine affection and regret. 

The house which now became his home 
No. 20 Dean's Yard, Westminster Abbey is 
one of the most interesting in London ; and, 
under his skilful direction, it soon became one 
of the most beautiful. Pursuing some dis- 
coveries which had been made ten years before, 
he disclosed some black - and - white frescoes 
dating from the middle of the fourteenth 
century ; and, below the level of Dean's Yard, 
he found a stone-walled chamber with a groined 
and vaulted roof, which he converted into a 
dining-room. " To Canon Wilberforce are due 
the thanks of all who are interested in archaeology 
and historical art." Both he and Mrs Wilber- 
force excelled, as they delighted, in hospitality ; 
and the rooms thus renovated and transformed 
became the scene of a brilliant and varied 
hospitality, to which nothing else in London 
exactly corresponded. 

On Sunday, the 1st of July, Wilberforce 



100 WESTMINSTER 

officiated for the first time at the Church of 
St John the Evangelist, Westminster J ; on 
Saturday, the 7th, he was installed in the Abbey, 
and on the 1st of August he began his first 
term of " Residence." 

The beginning of his ministry at St John's 
was marked by one untoward incident. In his 
predecessor's days, a band of Clewer Sisters had 
worked in the parish ; but they discovered that 
he did not use the Athanasian Creed, that he 
taught Universalism, and that " the whole tone 
of his mind towards Church authority and 
Catholic tradition was quite different from that 
which they had lived in for years past." So, 
after consultation with the Warden and the 
Mother Superior of the Community, they 
retired from St John's and transferred their 
services to an adjacent parish. Wilberforce did 
not try to replace them, but organized his 
parish on the lines which he had followed at 
Southampton. He had energetic Curates, 
devoted District- Visitors, and an elaborate 
apparatus of Guilds, Institutes, Clubs, and 
Parochial Committees. He generally cele- 
brated and preached at St John's on Sunday 
morning, and, after Evensong, conducted a 
Special Service of Intercession at which the 

1 St John's Church stands in Smith Square. (See Lord 
Beaconsfield's Sybil, book iv., chapter vi.) The Rector of 
St John's is neither instituted nor inducted. He is Rector 
by virtue of his Canonry, and his installation as Canon is 
held to be sufficient for all purposes. 



THE ALTAR 101 

" requests " of the congregation were informally 
" made known unto God." When in Residence, 
he celebrated in the Abbey on Sunday morning 
and preached there on Sunday afternoon. The 
general lines of his ministry will be described 
later on ; but here it may be recorded that, 
though he would not have been called a 
Ritualist, yet his bearing and gestures at the 
altar were always marked by a dignified 
solemnity which bespoke his sense of the 
greatness of the Eucharistic action. One who 
often served him at the Celebration writes as 
follows : 

" He certainly was most dignified and 
reverent. The Ablutions were always most 
thoroughly performed by him. It was obvious 
that he had made some careful study of the art 
if I may use the word of Celebrating. He 
had a definite line of action, so to speak, and I 
have never known him vary it in the smallest 
particular. He used, among other things, to say 
the ' approach ' to the altar, and he never turned 
his back on the Blessed Sacrament. The Pax 
he always said facing eastward, and he would 
then make the proper half-turn for the Blessing." 

Apart from his strictly ministerial work, he 
was in great request as a speaker for benevolent 
and charitable causes. He continued to labour 
for Total Abstinence, and formed a branch of 
his "Blue Cross Guild" in St John's parish. 



102 WESTMINSTER 

I 

He championed tortured animals against the 
vivisectionists, 1 and made one of his most 
effective quotations in reply to some ribaldry 
of Sir Victor Horsley 

" The modest, sensible, and well-bred man 
Will not insult me and no other can." 

The persecution of the Armenians by their 
Turkish oppressors was just now exciting 
English sympathy, and Wilberforce not only 
pleaded their cause at public meetings, but 
charitably invited them to celebrate their own 
Liturgy in St John's Church. 

To these various activities there was soon 
added another, of which it may be truly said that 
it was the most pleasurable incident of Wilber- 
force's later life. Dr Farrar, when Archdeacon 
of Westminster and Rector of St Margaret's, 
had also been Chaplain to the Speaker. In 
1895 he was promoted to the Deanery of 
Canterbury, and soon afterwards he resigned 
the Chaplaincy. Several distinguished clergy- 
men desired the vacant office, but at the end 
the choice lay between two Basil Wilberforce 
and A. C. Ainger, Master of the Temple. Both 
were admirably qualified so far as voice and 
elocution were concerned, and Wilberforce bore 
a name which had been famous, in one House 
of Parliament or the other, for a hundred years. 

1 His hatred of scientific cruelty was so intense that he 
wished to exclude vivisectionists from the Temperance 
platform. 



THE CHAPLAINCY 103 

On the 15th of January 1896, his diary 
records, in rubricated capitals, " SPEAKER'S 
LETTER CAME." It ran as follows : 

"DEAR CANON WILBERFORCE, The Dean 
of Canterbury has, as you probably know, 
resigned the Chaplaincy to the Speaker, and 
I have much pleasure in offering it to you. 
No doubt you are aware that the Chaplain is 
expected to abstain from taking part in Election 
contests, and from displaying an active and 
public interest in Party politics, but I hope 
that notwithstanding this restriction, you will 
find yourself able to accept my offer. 

" May I add that the recollection of the friend- 
ship which once existed between my father and 
Bishop Wilberforce (your father), and other 
members of your family, adds to the pleasure 
which I feel in asking you to be my Chaplain. 
Believe me, yours very faithfully, 

"W. C. GULLY." l 
There was no hesitation about the reply. 

"Jan. 15, '96. 

" DEAR MR SPEAKER, I accept with the 
deepest gratitude the great honour that you 
have graciously offered me. I am not using 
the language of exaggeration when I say that 
the position of Chaplain to the Speaker presents 
to me greater attractions than any other office, 

1 Afterwards Lord Selby. 

P 



104 WESTMINSTER 

even the most exalted, in the Church of 
England. My pleasure in accepting your offer 
is greatly enhanced by the kindly words in 
which it is conveyed, and by your reference to 
the close friendship which existed between our 
Fathers. 

" I can only assure you, Sir, that it will be 
my first desire to serve you with the utmost 
loyalty in the honourable position you have con- 
ferred upon me. I have the honour to remain, 
gratefully and respectfully yours, 

"BASIL WlLBERFORCE." 

What Wilberforce said about the attractions 
of this office was no exaggeration. He felt 
it a spiritual privilege to conduct the daily 
devotions of the House of Commons. He 
delighted in the free access to the debates in 
both Houses, which was by courtesy conceded 
to him. He enjoyed the opportunity of meeting, 
at the Speaker's Dinners and Levees, all the 
prominent politicians of the day ; and, taking 
a wider view of this office than had prevailed 
with his predecessors, he placed his private 
ministrations at the service of sick or sorrow- 
stricken M.P.'s. However ill or tired he might 
be feeling, he would struggle through wind and 
weather to his duties at the House, where his 
graceful presence, his melodious voice, and his 
dignified courtesy were heard and seen to the 
best advantage. He became conspicuously a 
favourite with the members of the House, and 



THE SELECT PREACHERSHIP 105 

had as many friends on one side of it as on 
the other. 1 

The acceptance of the Chaplaincy made an 
important alteration in his way of life. The 
" Permissive Bill " had disappeared from practical 
politics, but a scheme called indifferently " Local 
Veto " or " Local Control over the Liquor- 
Traffic " had been generally adopted by the 
Liberal party, and Wilberforce had often spoken 
on political platforms for Liberal candidates who 
were sound on the "Liquor Question." The 
conditions attached to the Chaplaincy made this 
line of action no longer possible, and hence- 
forward he disappeared from all platforms except 
those of purely charitable or humanitarian causes, 
such as the regulation of Dangerous Trades, and 
the support of the Anti-Vivisection Hospital. 

The year 1896 was marked by yet another 
distinction. In the autumn of that year Wilber- 
force was appointed one of the Select Preachers 
before the University of Oxford. His term of 
office began at Michaelmas 1897, and lasted for 
two years. He was naturally gratified by the 
honour which his University thus conferred on 
him, but the actual performance of the duty he 
never much enjoyed. One who heard him 
writes : " His sermons were thoroughly adequate 
from the Academical point of view, the style 
eloquent, and the delivery exceptionally fine. 

1 He was re-appointed by Mr Speaker Lowther (who 
succeeded Mr Speaker Gully in 1905), and held the office 
till the end of his life. 



106 WESTMINSTER 

The audience was rather above the average, but 
not what the preacher deserved." 



The summer of 1898 was made memorable 
by the last illness of Mr Gladstone, who died 
on Ascension Day, May 19. As soon as it 
became known that he was to be buried in 
Westminster Abbey, and that the coffin was 
meanwhile to rest in Westminster Hall, Wilber- 
force threw himself with pious and filial energy 
into the work of seeing that the preliminary 
rites were becomingly celebrated. With the 
cordial co-operation of the Earl Marshal, he 
arranged the lying-in-state on Christian lines, 
bringing the Altar-Cross from St John's to 
stand at the head of the bier, and greeting the 
arrival of the coffin with a short office of 
devotion. During three successive nights, the 
coffin was watched by a band of devoted 
churchmen, eager to pay this last office of 
Christian charity to the greatest lay-member of 
the English Church, and Mrs Wilberforce used 
her remarkable powers of organization in arrang- 
ing the list of watchers and the hours of their 
attendance. 1 

In November 1900, Wilberforce was made 
Archdeacon of Westminster, in succession to 

1 When Mrs Gladstone died, Basil Wilberforce rendered, 
mutatis mutandis, the same services; and, in 1906, a brass 
plate was, at his suggestion, placed in Westminster Hall to 
mark the place where Gladstone's bier had stood. 



THE ARCHDEACONRY 107 

the Venerable C. W. Furse. The Archdeaconry 
involves no practical duties, but gives its 
occupant a seat in the Lower House of 
the Convocation of Canterbury. The new 
Archdeacon took little part in the business 
of that House, but was regular in attendance, 
and used to give a series of " Convocation 
Luncheons/' which were indeed refreshments 
to his colleagues, parched by dry debate. One 1 
of those colleagues writes as follows : 

" Among the sunny memories of years gone 
by, there are few brighter than the Convocation 
Luncheons at Dean's Yard. Round the hospit- 
able table of the quaint dining-room all manner 
of delightful and interesting people were wont 
to gather during the mid-day interval. The brief 
relaxation and the bright welcome were favour- 
able to the fascination of talk between guests 
who, 'for the more part/ were on terms of 
familiar friendship. In this social scene the 
host's share was to the full appreciated." 2 

The Coronation of King Edward VII., in 
1902, brought Wilberforce a new variety of 
work and enjoyment. When the Abbey was 
closed for the necessary preparations, he 

1 The Venerable J. G. Tetley, Archdeacon of Bristol. 

2 In 1911, the Dean of Westminster (Bishop Ryle) offered 
Basil Wilberforce the Sub-Deanship in lieu of the Arch- 
deaconry ; but the offer was declined (with a full sense of 
the kindness implied in it), as the Archdeacon was " on the 
whole not disposed to change his present position and title." 



108 WESTMINSTER 

arranged for a series of addresses to the 
working-men in their dinner-hour, to be 
delivered, some by himself and some by invited 
friends, in the South Cloister; and in all the 
details of the actual " sacring " the grandest 
service in the English rite he took the keenest 
interest. 

As a member of the Chapter of Westminster, 
he had at his disposal a certain number of seats 
in the Abbey, and a Scottish lady to whom he 
offered one thanked him in a letter so remark- 
able that it deserves reproduction : 

" ' Second sight ' is a thing I have to struggle 
not to" believe in. I have never struggled 
successfully ! Just now among my own 
Argyllshire hills there is seated a seer of 
visions, who says the King is not to be 
crowned. The Dean of the Thistle believes 
it so much that he is not taking a lodging yet, 
but he has accepted the invitation to the Abbey." 

This letter was dated on the 3rd of June. 
On the 24th came the staggering announcement 
that the King was ill and the Coronation post- 
poned. On the evening of that day Basil wrote 
thus to his brother Ernest 1 : 

" I have just come from Buckingham Palace. 
The King is sleeping quietly . . . but all is off. 

" I shall never forget the scene in the Abbey 
when it was announced this morning. The 

1 Bishop of Chichester. 



THE CORONATION 109 

Bishop of London came to the front of the 
theatre after the rehearsal had commenced, 
and then we all knelt in intercession for the 
poor King. He has suffered fearfully. London 
is stunned, and no one knows what to do. 
Indeed, there is nothing to be done. 

" I suggested that Thursday should still go 
on every one come with their tickets in 
morning dress and turn the service into a 
National Intercession but it seems to be 
thought that this would imply that he is more 
ill than he really is. His habit of body is not 
propitious for an operation, and it is impossible 
not to consider him in great danger." l 

This chapter may be not inaptly closed 
with some words originally suggested by a 
novel called The Star Sapphire, in which 
Basil Wilberforce was described under a very 
transparent pseudonym. 

" Is social agreeableness an hereditary gift ? 
Nowadays, when everything, good or bad, is 
referred to heredity, one is inclined to say that 
it must be ; and though no training could 
supply the gift where Nature had withheld it, 
yet a judicious education can develop a social 
faculty which ancestry has transmitted. It is 
recorded of Madame de Stael that, after her 

1 The Coronation was postponed till the 9th of August. 
On that occasion, Basil Wilberforce carried the " Imperial 
Crown " in the Procession of the Regalia. At the Coronation 
of King George V., he carried the Queen's crown. 



110 WESTMINSTER 

first conversation with William Wilberforce, 
she said : * I have always heard that Mr Wilber- 
force was the most religious man in England, 
but I now find that he is the wittiest.' As 
regards the Emancipator's son, Bishop Samuel 
Wilberforce, we may be content to rest his 
reputation for agreeableness on testimony as 
little biassed as that of Archbishop Tait and 
Matthew Arnold. The Archbishop wrote, 
after the Bishop's death, of his 'social and 
irresistibly fascinating side, as displayed in his 
dealings with society ' ; and in 1864 Arnold, 
after listening with only very moderate admira- 
tion to one of the Bishop's celebrated sermons, 
wrote : ' Where he was excellent was in his 
speeches at luncheon afterwards gay, easy, 
cordial, and wonderfully happy.' 

" I think that one gathers from all dis- 
passionate observers of the Bishop that what 
struck them most in him was the blending of 
boisterous fun and animal spirits with a deep 
and abiding sense of the seriousness of religion. 
In the philanthropist-father the religious serious- 
ness rather preponderated over the [fun ; in the 
bishop-son (by a curious inversion of parts) the 
fun sometimes concealed the religiousness. To 
those who speculate in matters of race and 
pedigree it is interesting to watch the two 
elements contending in the character of Canon 
Basil Wilberforce. When you see his graceful 
figure, and clean-shaved, ecclesiastical face, in the 
pulpit of his strangely old-fashioned church, 



VERSATILITY 111 

or catch the vibrating notes of his beautifully 
modulated voice in 

The hush of our dread high-altar, 
Where The Abbey makes us We, 

you feel yourself in the presence of a born 
ecclesiastic, called from his cradle by an 
irresistible vocation to a separate and sanctified 
career. When you see him on the platform 
of some great public meeting, pouring forth 
argument, appeal, sarcasm, anecdote, fun, and 
pathos in a never-ceasing flood of vivid English, 
you feel that you are under the spell of a born 
orator. And yet again, when you see the 
priest of Sunday, the orator of Monday, pre- 
siding on Tuesday with easy yet finished 
courtesy at the hospitable table of the most 
beautiful dining-room in London, or welcomed 
with equal warmth for his racy humour and 
his unfailing sympathy in the homes of his 
innumerable friends, you feel that here is a 
man naturally framed for society, in whom his 
father and grandfather live again. Truly a 
combination of hereditary gifts is displayed in 
Canon Wilberforce ; and the social agreeable- 
ness of London received a notable addition 
when Mr Gladstone transferred him from 
Southampton to Dean's Yard." 




CHAPTER VIII 

MINISTRY 

To London in general, Basil Wilberforce was 
best known as a preacher. A Harrow boy 
once said to the present writer : " I was at the 
Abbey on Sunday, and heard Canon Wilber- 
force. Isn't he wonderful ? I never heard an 
orator before. What a beautiful voice ! Don't 
you think Macaulay's speeches must have 
sounded like that?" The comparison would 
not have suggested itself to most people ; and 
I fancy that in respect of voice the preacher 
was much better endowed than the politician ; 
but this rather undiscriminating admiration 
was exactly what Wilberforce's sermons elicited 
from the great congregations which flocked 
to hear him. He was least happy when he 
soared into the regions of transcendental 
philosophy ; but, when making some high appeal 
to the moral sense, or urging some great cause 
of national duty, he was not easily surpassed. 
In the Abbey he always paid due regard to the 
traditional sobriety of the place ; but in his 
own church he gave full scope to his imagina- 



112 




A RELIGIOUS VOCABULARY 113 

tion, which, ranging widely over the field of 
things not revealed, often landed him in strange 
conclusions. These conclusions, and the methods 
by which they were reached, were not always 
intelligible, even to careful listeners, for they 
were wrapt in a vague though glowing diction 
which made close thought impossible. The 
preacher seemed to believe in the virtue of long 
words to make difficult things easy. After all, ** 
" the mysterious power behind phenomena " only 
says in many syllables what " God " says in one ; 
but the congregation of St John's drank in 
this eloquence with open mouths and ears, and 
firmly believed that it helped them to understand 
what would otherwise have been unintelligible. 
A " paraphrase " of the Apostles' Creed, carefully 
corrected by Wilberforce's hand, lies before me 
as I write, and may serve to illustrate his 
religious vocabulary : 

"I believe in One Universal Omnipotent 
Parent- Source, of whom, and to whom, and 
through whom are all things, and in whom all 
live, and move, and have their being, whose 
nature is Spirit, and whose name is Love, and 
whom no man hath seen at any time. 

"And I believe in Jesus, called the Christ 
or the Anointed One, the Revealer of God to 
man and the interpreter of man to himself ; the 
unique specialization of the moral qualities of 
the Infinite Mind, and the Archetypal specimen 
and Perfect Representative of the sonship of 



114 MINISTRY 

Humanity ; the peculiar Incarnation of that 
Divine Word, or Logos, or Eternal Reason of 
the Parent-Source which is Immanent in all 
men. 

" He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, 
born of the Virgin Mary ; tested and made 
perfect by exposure to the divinely ordered 
resisting-agency, which is called moral evil ; 
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, 
dead, and buried ; He descended into Hades, 
the unseen world. The third day after His 
crucifixion He showed Himself alive to His 
disciples ; and after forty days He withdrew 
from visibility and returned, by what is known 
as the Ascension, to Universal Life and 
Authority ; from thence He is ceaselessly 
coming in judgment or discernment upon the 
characters and attainments of His brethren of 
the Race, both whilst they are in the flesh, and 
when they stand, small and great, before God 
at the close of the education of this age ; for all 
judgment or discernment hath been committed 
to the Humanity of the Parent- Source revealed 
in Jesus, who as the historic Christ is the 
manifestation, for purposes of recognition, of 
the mystic ' Christ in us, the hope of glory.' 

"And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the 
influence, or ceaselessly out-flowing life of the 
Parent- Source, and of Jesus the manifestor of 
the Parent-Source. The Holy Spirit is the 
Lord, the Life-giver, and the sustainer of the 
universe ; the Inspirer of art, science, literature, 



INTERPRETATION 115 

prophecy, aspiration, holiness, prayer. Though 
limitless, dateless, and universal, He is revealed 
as discoverable and accessible in the Holy 
Catholic Church. He is the invisible bond 
between souls that are sundered. He assures 
of pardon ; convinces of the non-reality of 
death ; and of the endless continuity of indi- 
vidual life. Amen." 

Wilberforce's method of interpretation was 
peculiarly his own. In preparing to expound 
a text, he " conferred not with flesh and blood " 
of commentators or exegetes. I remember 
once hearing him preach from 1st St John 
iii. 16. The sermon was full of beauty and 
suggestiveness, but it prompted the question 
"Do you really think that St John meant all 
that ? " His answer was illuminating " I don't 
know what St John meant, but I know what 
God meant me to find there." With this 
utterance may be compared some words written 
to his brother Reginald in 1913. "Remember 
how difficult it is to get at what Paul really 
believed. Sometimes he writes as a Pharisee, 
sometimes as an Essene. Sometimes he 
obviously does not know what he believes 
himself. He was a Gnostic, but his insight 
into the gnosis was clouded with Jewish 
eschatology." 

The congregation of St John's was a con- 
gregation of women. The church seats some 
800 people, and the proportion of females to 



116 MINISTRY 

males was about 10 to 1. A friend writes : 
" In the last list of subscribers to the Rector's 
Fund, out of 140 names I notice 7 males, 
including the Duke of Westminster and Mr 
Burdett-Coutts, M.P." The congregation was 
extremely liberal in giving, but it responded 
only to the personal appeal. When the Rector 
was announced to preach, his admirers came and 
gave. When another preacher was announced, 
they stayed away. 

As in church, so in private life. A lady, 
who had no sympathy with Wilberforce as a 
theologian, once said to me, " He knows how 
to talk to a woman " ; and this knowledge was 
a great element of his power. His manner to 
women was perfect gentle, easy, respectful, 
sympathetic ; yet without a trace of that clerical 
love-making which, in whatever communion it 
is found, is so peculiarly abhorrent. {Women) 
felt that they were safe with him, and they 
poured their griefs and cares and worries and 
anxieties into his patient ears ; secure not only 
of genuine sympathy but also of sensible advice. 
His mornings were generally occupied by these 
private audiences, and his afternoons by visits to 
members of his congregation, who lived perhaps 
far from Westminster and were hindered by 
infirmity or weather from making pilgrimages to 
Dean's Yard. 

He had known in his own life the guiding 
influence of a woman's love, and his sense of 
what he owed to it affected his view of every- 



FEMINISM 117 

thing that pertained to womankind. Conspicu- 
ously, it made him an eager advocate of Female 
Suffrage; it led him to rely on women's help 
in all works of moral reclamation ; and it 
inclined him to a lenient judgment on women's 
faults, even when the suffragettes tried to 
destroy St John's Church. Less happily, it 
caused him to encourage the re-marriage of 
divorced people, and to rejoice in the legalization 
of marriage with a wife's sister. In these and 
in some other aberrations, which were painful to 
his friends, his sympathy with feminism was 
reinforced by his impatience of order and 
discipline. He was instinctively at war with 
whatever, in his view, hampered the free work- 
ing of the Spirit, and his eagerness in this 
direction led to a remarkable development of 
his ministry. 

We saw in an earlier chapter that Lord 
Radstock had at one time exercised a consider- 
able influence over Wilberforce's theology. 
One of Radstock's peculiarities was that, 
interpreting St James by his own mind and 
conscience, he revived the practice of anointing 
sick people with oil, for their recovery from 
bodily illness. Wilberforce, who believed a 
good deal in the influence of mind and soul 
over body, 1 determined to copy Radstock's 
practice. In 1895 he submitted the point to 

1 I say "a good deal" advisedly; for, though I have 
known him use the services of a " Faith-healer," he seemed 
to think them rather ineffective. 





,,,.,, 





118 MINISTRY 

Bishop Temple, and by so doing elicited a 
characteristic judgment. 

" I have no doubt at all that James v. 15 
is a medical direction and nothing else, and the 
lesson contained in it is that all medicine and 
its kind must be used religiously, with a trust in 
God's love and with the knowledge that the 
issues of all such human action are in His 
Hands. The passage stands on the same 
footing as St Paul's recommendation to Timothy 
to use wine because of his feeble health. 

" Such ceremonies as anointing appear to me 
to be out of place, and tending to superstition. 
And the benediction of the oil, especially by a 
Bishop, gives the anointing a kind of sacramental 
character. And I do not think we have a right 
to ordain new sacraments. 

"But the whole matter is private and not 
public, and I claim no jurisdiction over such 
private action. Do what you think good in 
the case. 

" If we are to follow St James's directions 
in the way that you proposed, I think we ought 
to bless not the oil only but all medicines that 
may be used. But this is a personal opinion 
of mine, and I have no desire to enforce it on 
what is privately done. The case would be 
quite different if it were proposed to do this 
anointing in church." 

One of Temple's successors in the See of 



UNCTION 119 

London was much more encouraging, but 
prudently declined to commit himself; he thought 
that "a priest of your standing is justified in 
using his discretion." This Wilberforce did, 
and made the use of Unction, not as a prepara- 
tion for death but as a help to recovery, a regular 
part of his ministry. He had friends in the 
Episcopal Order not Diocesans who conse- 
crated the Oil for him, and he used it, together 
with the Imposition of Hands, on the lines of 
an office which he privately printed in 1914. 1 

I said in a previous chapter that Wilber- 
force's peculiar gifts enabled him to retain in 
the Communion of the Church some errant 
souls who, but for him, would have wandered 
off into schism or " nothingarianism." To this 
I must add that the same gifts enabled him to 
bring into the Church many who had hitherto 
stood outside it ; and baptisms of adults 
Quakers and others figure frequently in his 
diary of engagements. 

It is impossible to give an adequate account 
of Wiljberforce's ministry without touching 
that unwholesome subject which is broadly 
labelled "Spiritualism." In the middle of the 
nineteenth century, it was made a matter of 
reproach against Bishop Samuel Wilberforce 
that he dabbled in table-turning, " levitation," 
and other deceptions then practised by "Mr 

1 This was always done in private, either in the sick 
person's house or, more rarely, at 20 Dean's Yard. The 
office will be found in Appendix II. 

11 



120 MINISTRY 

Sludge the Medium," his confederates, and his 
dupes. The Bishop excused himself by the 
plea of an interest in Electro-biology, and 
affected to treat the whole business as an 
undeveloped science. Something of the same 
interest no doubt existed in the mind of Basil 
Wilberforce, and he combined it with a chronic 
desire to be " wise above what is written," and an 
insatiable curiosity about the life and condition 
of the Departed. In order to satisfy this curi- 
osity, he condescended to all sorts of quackeries. 
He gravely discussed the lore of raps and 
vibrations. He communed with "Spooks" and 
"Swamis" and "Controls." He consulted 
clairvoyants and clairvoyantes of every type. 
He hearkened to one impostrix who reproduced 
the voices of the dead through an ear-trumpet, 
and to another who wrote backwards at their 
dictation. He went through all these experiences 
with an admirable gravity ; talked like a con- 
vinced believer, and listened with apparent 
respect to inconceivable nonsense. 

In 1904 he wrote to a kinswoman : " That 
spook ' Pater/ who says I am better, seems to 
have taken a fancy to me, but I give him no 
encouragement, and always refuse to go to any 
seance. / dorit like it a bit" On one occasion 
he told the present writer, with unaffected 
horror, of some disgusting immoralities which 
had been committed under a cloak of spiritual 
wifeship ; on another he dismissed, with an 
amused contempt, the habitual fabrications of a 



SPIRITUALISM 121 

psychical believer whom we both knew. At 
one time he seemed to regard the question with 
an open mind, and proposed to take part in 
some " Test Seances." The character of these 
seances may be inferred from the conditions, 
which were stated thus : " The Medium submits 
to be denuded of all clothing, and to be re-attired 
in clothes provided by the Committee. The 
ladies and gentlemen who form ' the Circle ' 
consent to the same conditions. The Medium 
consents to be secured by ligatures and seals, to 
be padlocked to her chair, and to be enclosed 
in a sack, which shall in turn be sewn up, 
padlocked, and sealed." After careful considera- 
tion of these and other circumstances, Wilber- 
force declined to participate in the experiment, 
his judgment being aided by the sagacious 
counsel of the late Mr J. N. Maskelyne, who 
wrote : " It is necessary to exercise the greatest 
caution when dealing with these fanatics. I 
speak with forty years' experience." 

The final impression left by my many con- 
versations with Wilberforce on these and cognate 
themes is that he was sometimes credulous about 
them, and sometimes sceptical. He had, with 
regard to everything, what is called " The open 
mind." He was by nature in the highest degree 
impressible ; was strongly affected by his im- 
mediate environment ; and had a curious knack 
of transmuting another person's experience or 
suggestion into a conviction of his own. I 
think he valued the creed of Spiritualism as 



DBRARY 5T MARY'S COLLEGE 



122 MINISTRY 

a counter-influence to Materialism ; but after 
his great bereavement he told me emphatically 
that spiritualistic arts had never brought him 
any nearer the desired object of conscious com- 
munication with her whom he had lost. 



To his brother Reginald he wrote, with 
reference to a sermon preached on Easter Day, 
1913 : 

" I gave reasons again for my abhorrence 
of the doctrine of He-incarnation. I utterly dis- 
believe in it. Fancy the Prodigal Son, after 
his time in 'Deva Khan,' with his ring and 
his fatted calf, being sent back to the harlots 
and the pigs to work out his Karma! He 
deserved it ! ! 

" The theory is not in the old Eastern faiths 
not a trace of it in the Atharva Veda, the 
oldest record in the world." 

In what theology did Wilberforce finally 
repose ? I find it difficult to answer. In his 
study the dust lay thick on the books of 
traditional divinity; but close at hand, in the 
corner where he always sate, there was a pile 
of more or less unintelligible discourses by 
mystagogues, chiefly American, and with these 
he often took counsel, though he bound himself 
to none of them. I am convinced that he never 
lost his hold on the central facts of the Christian 
revelation, yet beyond doubt he came to regard 



THE DIVINE IMMANENCE 123 

them less and less in their objective aspect, and 
more and more as they corresponded to the 
work of the Spirit in the heart and conscience. 
Towards the end, all theology seemed to be 
for him comprehended in the one doctrine of 
the Divine Immanence, and yet he was not 
unaware that there was a perilous side to this 
view of truth, as the following words show : 

" It is impossible not to notice in the teaching 
of the many helpful, illuminating schools of 
thought of our day from all of which they 
who are firmly based on Catholic truth can 
gain much spiritual enlightenment a certain 
tendency to belittle, to depreciate, the wholly 
unique position of the Lord Jesus, the objective 
Christ, as the One only, perfect, full-orbed 
specialization of the Infinite Self-consciousness 
of God. I know it arises from a laudable 
desire to break down limitations and see the 
Incarnation as an inclusive fact. It is well 
that these teachers should emphasize the 
inseverability of God and man. It is well for 
them to realize that Jesus is the supreme 
illustration of the Universally Immanent 
Divine Nature. It is well for them to reiterate 
that, 'As He is, so are we in this world.' It 
is well to be assured that God is in man as 
man's true life and real being. It is, however, 
essential to remember and affirm that God is 
in Christ in a far more individual sense than 
that which is implied by His Immanence in 



124 MINISTRY 

humanity. God was in Christ in such perfect 
identification, in such unlimited Self-realization, 
that of Him alone it can be said : ' God has come 
down to us in the likeness of man.' This is 
the faith of Catholic Christendom. That we 
may acknowledge this, we solemnly kneel on 
Christmas Day when we repeat the words in 
the Nicene Creed : * And was made man.' " l 

1 Thoughts for Christmas (1911). 



Subjoined is a List of Wilberforce's published Writings : 

The Purpose of God. New (?) Theology. Thoughts on 

The Power of Faith. the Universality and Continuity 

The Battle of the Lord. of the Doctrine of the Irama- 

Inward Vision. nenceofGod. 

Spiritual Consciousness. After Death ' What? 

Steps in Spiritual Growth. There is no Death 

The Secret of the Quiet Mind. W ^ does not God st P the 

The Power that Worketh in Us. 

Power with God. Seeing God. 

The Hope that is in Me. M r stic I mmanence - 

Sermons preached in Westminster The H P e of Glor *' 

Abbey. First Series. Li S ht on the Problems of Life. 

Sermons preached in Westminster Thoughts for Christmas. 

Abbey. Second Series. The Awakening. 

LONDON: ELLIOT STOCK, 7 PATERNOSTER ROW, E.G. 



CHAPTER IX 

BEREAVEMENT 

ABUNDANT testimony has been borne in 
previous pages to the warmth of Basil 
Wilberforce's affections. Indeed, no one 
could be for an hour in his society without 
noticing some instance of it. To the end of 
his life there were tears in his voice when he 
spoke of his father's sudden death. " Herbert," 
he used to say, " is a sacred name to me," 
referring to the brother whom he had lost 
when he was only fifteen. In his diary of 
engagements he always noted, when each 
year began, the birthdays of all his family, 
and the note for July 29 was Dilectissima 
conjux nata. His relations with his son and 
daughter were ideally beautiful, and in their 
company he seemed less a father than an elder 
brother. 

His affections overflowed the limits of the 
home, and extended through all the circle of kin- 
ship. Ernest Wilberforce, Bishop of Chichester, 



125 



126 BEREAVEMENT 

died on the 9th of September 1907, and a 
fortnight later Basil wrote thus to one of the 
bishop's sons : 

" MY DEAR VICTOR, I have been thinking 
so much of you since that overwhelming blow 
fell upon you all. 

" Your Father's great affection for you, which 
amounted almost to idolization, should be a 
restraining and stimulating memory in your 
life, and make you resolutely determined to act 
in life in such a way as to cause him pleasure, 
and to bring honour upon the name you bear. 
I am convinced that our dear ones in another 
condition of being are conscious of our lives 
here, and that we can either give them joy or 
sorrow by our conduct. 

"Your dear mother will now rest very 
much upon you as the oldest home son, and 
you must feel a new responsibility with regard 
to her. 

" God bless you, my dear boy. I am your 
loving uncle, 

"BASIL WlLBERFORCE." 

The 28th of November was always noted in 
Wilberforce's diary as Dies sacra, for it was 
the anniversary of his wedding. His married 
life had been one long honeymoon. "Happy 
marriages, it may be thankfully acknowledged, 
are rather the rule among us than the excep- 
tion ; but even among happy marriages this 



HUSBAND AND WIFE 127 

marriage was exceptional, so nearly did the 
union of thought, heart, and action both fulfil 
the ideal, and bring duality near to the borders 
of identity." 1 Basil Wilberforce once said, with 
reference to his wife, " My life has been lived in 
her. She has been 'the theatre of my actions.'" 
Husband and wife were never separated. He 
used to say that he had felt no need indeed, 
scarcely had room in his life for friendships. 
He never joined a Club. The moment that his 
work, whatever it might be, was finished, his 
first thought was to get back to the companion- 
ship which he had left at home, and the keenest 
enjoyment that life afforded him was a solitude 
a deux with the one person who completely 
understood him. Of them it might indeed be 
truly said, that they were " of one heart and of 
one soul." 

Mrs Wilberforce had always possessed unusual 
strength, and their joint life seemed to show a 
beautiful fulfilment of the prayer in Tobit : 
" Mercifully ordain that we may become aged 
together." The year 1909 dawned on a home 
still untouched by sorrow. The 31st of January 
was marked as Dies fausta " Left Boscombe 
10 minutes to 11. Lovely through Forest. 
Lunched in car. Stopped an hour at Farnham. 
Actually moving, five hours, 107 miles lovely 
day roads perfect." 

In the week beginning February 14, Con- 
vocation was sitting, and the usual " Convocation 

1 W. E. Gladstone. 

S 



128 BEREAVEMENT 

Luncheons" in Dean's Yard took place. Mrs 
Wilberforce was present as usual, but the diary 
records that she was "ill and in pain." The 
discomfort continued, with some alternations 
of relief, all through February and March, and 
on Maundy Thursday, April 8, husband and 
wife went down in their car to Folkestone. 
From this point Wilberforce must tell the 
tale in letters to his sister-in-law, Mrs Ernest 
Wilberforce : 

"April 10, 1909. 

" We had a superb run down in the motor, 
only 3J hours, one hour of which was in 
the first ten miles of London traffic. She 
did not seem over-tired. We found our rooms 
charming right over the sea, with a wide 
balcony and weather glorious ; but in the 
night all the old pain came back, and she has 
been very ill. If I dared, I should take her 
back to-day, but I must have a little more 
faith and patience. 

"Last night was a very bad night. . . . 
That true friend Ward x and I mean to take the 
nights alternately if I do keep her here. We 
have neither of us anything to do, and it won't 
hurt us to be night-nurses. 

" I wish I had more faith at home. I have 
such strong faith in praying for others, and we 
have had some most interesting incidents 
lately ; but I feel so crushed when I hear her 
in pain that I can only dumbly endure it. 

1 Mrs Wilberforce's maid. See p. 95. 



"DOOM" 129 

" This is a selfish letter, and anxiety makes 
me horribly selfish, I perceive." 

" FOLKESTONE, 
" Easter Monday, 1909. 

" Our attempt here has been a ghastly 
failure; she has been very ill, and the nights 
have been long vigils of pain and discomfort. 
That dear Ward and I have taken turns at 
night-nursing, and I am now taking her back 
to London, and have telegraphed for a night- 
nurse to come to-night." 

As soon as they returned to London, 
medical consultations were resumed, and on 

the 17th of April the diary records : " Dr 

came. Spoke doom'' 

"May 2, 1909. 

" At 10 this morning a last consultation no 
hope. The only thing to pray for is speed 
and lessening of pain. She told George Russell 
to-day that she knew she was dying ; she has 
not yet said it to me. May God soon let me 
follow His Will be done." 

On Saturday, the 15th of May, the diary 
says this only : " My beloved left us at 
3.30. To Thee, O Lord, I commend her 
spirit." 

On Wednesday, the 19th : "THE FUNERAL. 



130 BEREAVEMENT 

Great tribute of affection to the beloved in 
the Abbey. Remains laid in Cloister." 

On the 27th, Wilberforce left London with 
his daughter, but remained only a week at the 
seaside, and returned to his duties on the 3rd 
of June. 

B. W. to Mrs Ernest Wilberforce. 

"June 8, 1909. 

" I got through Sunday, and preached in the 
Abbey, but the desolation does not diminish, 
and coming back to this house after being 
away was very bad." 

"June 11, 1909. 

"All days are the same to me, and every 
night ' water I my couch with tears/ This sort 
of thing at my age is incurable." 

"Sept. 6, 1909. 

"Two years ago to-day, my dearest, I 
received your dread telegram, 'Severe seizure.' 1 
The beloved had not to linger long, and I 
do not think there was pain as we understand 
it but the silence, and the agonizing hunger for 
a touch of the vanished hand ! Our darlings 
are in a higher, grander sphere, and I am sure 
near us and watching over us. Remember my 
beloved said to you : ' I shall see him.' Of 
course she meant your beloved. You have 
longer to wait than I have." 

1 Bishop Ernest Wilberforce died September 9, 1907. 



"THE LESSON OF PATIENCE" 131 

"Oct. 7, 1909. 

" It is too dear of you to wish me to come 
to you, but it is pain to me to be out of this 
house. I would rather stay here, if possible, 
till the long-hoped-for day when my loving 
Heavenly Father will allow my shell to be 
carried out to be laid by her." 

On the 14th of May 1910, he wrote to his 
sister-in-law, Mrs Owen Hayter : 

"Thank you for kind remembrance these 
anniversaries are heart-rending, but we are left 
to learn the lesson of patience, and to live as 
much as possible after the Spirit, that we may 
at once be with them when our call comes. 

" Now for your questions 

" (1) One need not re- awaken memories of 
old sins, but as one gets nearer to 
God one hates oneself more for 
having been such a beast and, per- 
sonally, I can say with more and 
more truth, 'the burden of them is 
intolerable,' but dear God has for- 
gotten them. 

" (2) The whole idea of Praise is rather 
rudimentary I should think God 
loathed to be praised. Every noble 
man does. But God likes to be 
thanked and loved, and a thankful 
heart is one which He is best able 
to bless because it is receptive. 



132 BEREAVEMENT 

"(3) 'We thank Thee for our creation* 
is an affirmation that we know He 
will carry us through, and that 
the end will be so blessed that 
we shall forget all the discipline of 
life. 

" (4) It is no use comparing ourselves with 
others. We don't know the hidden 
struggles and victories of others. 
There will be no ' aloofness ' ; they 
will help us with all they have 
learned since they left us. 

"(5) Personal recognition? Of course! 
Of course! What would Heaven 
be without our beloved ? George 
Macdonald said : ' Do you think I 
shall be a greater fool in Paradise 
than I am here ? ' 

" (6) ' Neither marry nor are given in 
marriage.' Over there, we are not 
tied by a Parson and social conven- 
tional law, but blended as the sup- 
plement and complement of each 
other." 

To the Same. 

"Jan. 19, 1912. 

No we should not be frightened if we 
saw them, but we should be filled with awe and 
love. We shall not see them the effort to 



THE NEARNESS OF THE DEPARTED 133 

materialize to that extent is very difficult for 
them we shall see them when we are dying. 
They will come to help us, and take all fear 
from us. ... 

" It is for us to live as much as possible after 
the Spirit, patiently keeping ourselves in the 
current of the Eternal Will. I know they 
influence us and pray for us. Your husband 
was one of the good ones of the earth, and can 
help you now by thought-power." 

To the Same. 

"Feb. 16, 1912. 

" I love my beloved in that sense more 
than I can individually love God but it is 
loving God human love is a reflection of 
God's Love * If we love not those whom we 
have seen, how can we love God Whom we have 
not seen ? ' God is the substance, the creative 
thought-form in everything. I love God in 
the flower, the sunshine, the birds, the dear 
animals. 

" I do not like ' Manuals/ and do not deal in 
them, and what is called self-examination is 
detestable to me. What does God want me 
for? That He may realize Himself, and manifest 
Himself in me and through me. Your real 
relation to the Originating Spirit is His mani- 
festation. Why not use my morning prayer, 1 
meaning each separate word, and turn it into 

i See p. 135. 



134 BEREAVEMENT 

an introspection at evening prayer ? To live 
one day in the spirit of that prayer is to 
grow as God wants us to grow to make it 
the normal habit of your life is to become 
Christ-like, and be ready to go straight to 
our beloved when comes the 'one clear call 
for me.'" 

To his brother Reginald. 

"Jan. 22, 1913. 

" My warm greetings upon your natal day. 
May the loving Father keep you long amongst 
those who love you and need you, and may 
you every year grow in the knowledge of God. 
I think the Immanent Spirit will keep us here 
while we are learning and show that we are 
learning. I am greatly hoping that I may 
finish my lessons soon and go home, or rather 
go to the Higher School to be with those who 
have gone before but His Will is perfect, and 
I know I want a little more of the birch before 
the holidays." 

To Mrs Reginald Wilberforce. 

"Jan. 22, 1914. 

" What a blessed quiet release from the body ! * 
I had always hoped that I should be with him if 
he passed over first. . . . The relief at parting 
from the flesh-body is very great, and they are 
able to be constantly with us, loving us and 

i Reginald Garton Wilberforce died January 19, 1914. 



A BROTHER'S DEATH 135 

helping with magnetic thoughts. If I get 
about again, and am able, my first journey will 
be to see you, but my emphysema is very far 
advanced ; only I have a strong heart, a 
possession I could willingly do without. ... I 
am with you all at the grave-side at one o'clock 
to-day. There is much in the service I should 
like to alter, but we can with intense faith 
commit him to the Unfailing Divine Love. 

" It will be a lovely, a glorious time when 
we all meet again. . . . Meanwhile you, dear 
little mother, have a lot to do for him in helping 
and loving his children." 

To the Same. 

"Feb. 12, 1914. 

" I am constantly thinking of you and hoping 
you are bearing the anguish which I know so 
well of the loss of a beloved visible presence, 
with the certainty of reunion in God's good 
time." 



A Morning Prayer. 

"Our Father, I pray that I may live this 
day in constant recollection of my true relation, 
as an individual, to Thee, the Originating and 
Indwelling Spirit. May my conscious mind per- 
ceive that Thy Life, Thy Spirit, Thy Thoughts, 
are within me, and that Thou art seeking to 
realize Thyself, and to manifest Thy Love 




136 BEREAVEMENT 

through me. May my mind be a pure dwell- 
ing-place for Thy Spirit, and my thoughts only 
such as will heal and bless. May I remember 
that anger or unbrotherliness shown to another, 
under whatever provocation, thwarts Thy divine 
purpose, and grieves Thy Holy Spirit. May 
my highest aim this day be to manifest God, 
and make others happy, and may I rise every 
day into a higher consciousness of Thy Life and 
Thy Love." 



CHAPTER X 

SUNSET 

THE letters cited in the last chapter show, better 
than any words of a biographer could show it, 
what bereavement meant for Basil Wilberforce ; 
but it would be a mistake to infer from them 
that his last years on earth were clouded or 
unhappy. When the first agony of grief had 
abated, he found abundant consolation. The 
devotion of his son and daughter gave him 
perpetual help and strength. The son was 
actively and honourably employed in military 
service ; and the appointment of his son-in-law, 
the Rev. E. H. Kennedy, to the Vicarage of 
Holy Trinity, Bessborough Gardens, brought 
his daughter into his immediate neighbourhood, 
just when her loving care became most valuable. 1 
His zeal and vigour, both in public and in private 
ministrations, were rather increased than dimin- 
ished, and he felt a special joy in the task of 
alleviating spiritual and temporal distress. In 
sick-rooms his tender yet fortifying presence was 
always welcome. In money-matters he was 
generous to a fault, and the number of those 

1 Mr Kennedy attended him on his death-bed. 

187 



138 SUNSET 

whom his bounty relieved can never be known. 
If he wanted society, he had " troops of friends " 
whose chief object was to make him happy ; and, 
whenever the exigencies of work allowed, he 
found refreshment in the country, where that 
love of nature, both live and still, which was 
to him a master-passion displayed itself with 
winning simplicity. 

So the years passed on, tranquilly and even 
brightly, and it seemed as if he was to have 
his full share in the blessing of the promise 
that "at evening time it shall be light." But 
the heavens were darkening for an unexpected 
storm, and he, like the rest of us, was appointed 
to have his part in the Great Tribulation which 
came upon the earth in the summer of 1914. 

War was declared on the 4th of August. 
On Sunday, the 9th, Basil Wilberforce preached 
in Westminster Abbey to a thousand men and 
officers of the Queen's Westminster Volunteers. 
His text was 1 St Peter ii. 17, and, under the 
stimulus of the awful occasion, his eloquence rose 
to an unusual height and power. 1 On the 12th 
he bade farewell at Aldershot to his son, under 
orders for France. On the 30th he wrote as fol- 
lows to Mrs Ernest Wilberforce, bracketing the 
names of his nephews with that of his son : 

" We had a thrilling Intercession service 
to-night. I read the three dear names, with a 

1 The Sermon is reprinted in Appendix III., by permission 
of Mr Elliot Stock, from The Battle of the Lord. 



BREAKDOWN 139 

pause between each, and they were lifted into 
the Presence 

Ernest Victor } 

William Sargent V Wilberforce 

Herbert WilliamJ 

We must give them, just asking for the highest 
best. My heart is heavy 10,000 of our dear 
fellows are .killed, wounded, or missing and no 



names ! 



On Christmas Eve he wrote to Mrs Reginald 
Wilberforce : 

" Yes, we must thank Him for what he has 
given us, and patiently do our duty till He 
says, ' Come up higher.' I am getting through 
a greater amount of work than I have done for 
years, but, humanly speaking, it can't last. I am 
content with His will. ... I heard from Herbert l 
last night, all on the qui vive, expecting to be 
sent against the Bosches every moment. They 
are all cheerful and confident ; but the trenches 
are awful." 

The "greater amount of work" was too 
great, and early in 1915 he was laid low by a 
severe attack of congestion of the lungs ; and 
it was not till the 23rd of April that he was 

1 Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Wilberforce com- 
manded The Queen's Bays, and his preservation from the 
dangers of battle, till his command expired in 1915, was 
perhaps the chief joy of Basil Wilberforce's last days on 
earth. 



140 SUNSET 

able to return thanks in the Times for the 
sympathy shown " during his long and serious 
illness." During the summer he performed all 
his usual work at the Abbey, at St John's, and 
in the House of Commons. When the House 
rose, he spent a few weeks at Brighton ; then 
he returned to Dean's Yard, and preached and 
celebrated at St John's on the last Sunday of 
the year. 

The year 1916 opened badly, for on the 
3rd of January he was again laid low by a 
recurrence of the illness which in the previous 
year had threatened his life. The symptoms 
were more severe, and the recovery was slower. 
On the 4th of February he travelled with his 
daughter to Brighton, and there he remained, 
surrounded by his family and friends, for seven 
weeks. He seemed to improve, but from time 
to time he would say, "I am not getting any 
better " ; not gloomily or sadly, but as if simply 
stating a fact. On the 29th of March he 
returned to London, and resumed his usual 
work. On Friday, the 14th of April, he went 
to visit a patient from St John's Parish in a 
hospital at Wandsworth. "The first time he 
went, he had complained of the cold and 
draughts in the hospital, but insisted on going 
again to give the man some little present he 
had asked for, instead of sending it." This time 
he caught a chill. On Palm Sunday, April 16, 
he preached at St John's, noting in his diary : 
"Very seedy." 



PNEUMONIA 141 

This was the beginning of the end. He now 
took to his bed ; his daughter was in constant 
attendance, and his son was summoned from 
France. There were fluctuations of hope and 
fear ; one day he appeared to be collapsing, and 
another he revived. On the 3rd of May he 
received a visit from the Bishop of London, and 
on the 6th of May he was able to talk quite in 
his usual way to his son and daughter, his son- 
in-law, and his daughter-in-law. " He spoke 
to us happily and peacefully, telling us that he 
knew he was dying." To his son he said : 
"You are the best son a man ever had." 

On Sunday, May 7, I saw my friend for 
the last time. He lay in bed quite still, with 
his eyes shut, and I noticed that the attenuation 
of illness had brought out the fine lines of his 
profile with unusual distinctness. As I knelt 
by his bed, he said, "I am dying fast, and 
it is much \ more painful than I thought; but 
I have deserved it all." He spoke, as always, 
of the Love of God, and then gave me his 
blessing with his hand on my head " God the 
Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, 
bless, preserve, and keep you, in body and soul 
and spirit, now, henceforth, and for evermore." 
So we parted. 

There was now a remarkable though transient 
rally, and the pneumonia cleared off; but 
the overtaxed heart gave way, and then con- 
sciousness slowly ebbed. On Saturday, the 
13th of May, about nine in the evening, he 



142 SUNSET 

passed in painless peace out of this life into 
the next. 

"Just at the last, he opened his eyes and 
looked up towards the foot of his bed. The 
look was a conscious one but not with a 
consciousness of anything here. There was a 
slight look of enquiry, a look of satisfied 
recognition, and then, with a slight smile, his 
eyes closed, and that was the end or rather 
the beginning." 

On Thursday, the 18th of May, after a 
beautiful service in the Abbey, his remains were 
laid in the South Cloister, by the side of her 
who, whether in the body or out of the body, had 
been the other half of his heart and life for fifty 
years. 



" We are like children, or men in a tennis- 
court, and before our conquest is half won the 
dim twilight comes and stops the game ; never- 
theless, let us keep our places, and above all 
hold fast by the law of life we feel within. 
This was the method which Christ followed, 
and He won the world by placing Himself in 
harmony with that law of gradual development 
which the Divine Wisdom has planned. Let 
us follow in His steps, and we shall attain to 
the ideal life ; and, without waiting for our 
mortal passage, tread the free and spacious 
streets of that Jerusalem which is above." 1 
1 J. H. Shorthouse. 



APPENDIX I. 

THESE beautiful appreciations are contributed 
by the Rev. Rowley Lascelles, for more than 
forty years Rector of Lavington ; the Venerable 
J. G. Tetley, Archdeacon of Bristol ; and the 
Hon. Mrs Alfred Felkin (Ellen Thorneycroft 
Fowler) : 

Rev . R. Lascelles. 

" The half century of friendship seems, as 
I look back, just a level plain of affectionate 
and loving intercourse, absolutely untouched by 
one single word of anything to make one feel 
uncomfortable. He is the only one of my 
friends of which I can say this with absolute 
truth. The kind, hospitable welcome which 
invariably awaited me, the affectionate meet- 
ings, the unfailing sympathy all these, and 
many other things, justified me in looking upon 
him as my dearest friend." 

Archdeacon Tetley. 

" It was a singularly attractive personality. 
The impression made on the very many who 



143 



144 APPENDIX I 

knew him was probably of a varied kind, and 
it would be a study of great interest to collect 
and co-ordinate the main results. For myself, 
there are certain prominent features to which 
memory can never play false, and of these I 
propose briefly to speak. 

" I think that no one, however divergent their 
tastes or opinions might be, could even on a 
slight acquaintance fail to mark how generous 
a spirit was his, and how trustful. He would 
give you of his best, with both hands, lavishly, 
and to all seeming without a trace of misgiving 
that such treatment could be abused. There 
was in the man a remarkably rare union of the 
strongest affection and a quite confident fulness 
of its expression. If words came easily to him 
in conversation, or flowed readily from his pen, 
it did not in the least follow that they were 
conventional, or even emotional in an impulsive 
sort of way. I should venture to say that the 
obviously natural note of his relations with his 
fellows constituted the charm of his character. 
The warmth of language was so translatable 
into corresponding action, as a wealth of 
witnesses can testify. 

" There was a good deal of his father about 
him. Now and again the tone and inflection of 
the voice would bring back the memories of 
days that are no more, when the great Bishop 
of Oxford was the wielder of a spell which 
belonged to few indeed in like degree, and 
was wont to hush an audience into the silence 



APPRECIATIONS 145 

of absorbed attention, and in turn arouse it to 
an impetuous enthusiasm. 

"Again, I would dwell on the intensity of 
his moral convictions. They fairly gripped him. 
They not "only inspired the born orator to a 
white heat of denunciation, carrying him 
doubtless now and again beyond the limits of 
his more leisured judgment, but made him 
fearlessly independent of prejudice, interests, or 
opposition.^ It will be within the recollection of 
the world at large how this was the case with 
regard to intemperance, unhealthy trades, and 
experiments on live animals. I am not con- 
cerned with the defects of his qualities. Any- 
one who reads the obituary notices of public men 
in Church or State which appear in the Press, 
is aware of the monotonous facility with which 
writers appear to fasten on this side of life. 
My business is to place on record the real Ego 
of a gifted and generous man, whose friendship 
was freely accorded to me, and of which I am 
conscious to be less deserving than I might 
have been. 

" It was probably this fearless attitude that 
so greatly impressed C. H. Spurgeon when he 
was Wilberforce's guest at Southampton, and 
went a great way towards that better under- 
standing of the English Church which, we have 
been recently told, was the outcome of the 
visits. 

"One thing more. I do not know how it 
may have been in earlier years, but most 



_* a %/ 



146 APPENDIX I 

certainly there was nothing more notable in 
the later part of life than his genuine pther- 
worldliness. I am not unmindful of the I over- 
whelming sorrow that irreversibly wrought 
so vast a change. Rather, I reverently pause 
in silence on the threshold of such sacred grief. 
This said, I would add that I do not remember 
ever to have seen one who sat so lightly to 
life. I have before me letters from which I 
quote : 

" ' In His own time He will set me free from 
the body.' 

" ' I suppose I shall get well. I hoped (twice 
underlined) that it was " sunset and evening star, 
and one clear call for me," but I will not be 
impatient.' 

"And now he has passed beyond the veil, 
6 thinner than the subtlest lawn,' to learn in 
clearer light the mysteries which are beyond 
our present faculties to apprehend. Many and 
many a life is the poorer for the withdrawal 
of one to whom the love of God and his fellow- 
creatures was so real and living a power. 

" Come, my beloved ! we will haste and go 
To those pale faces of our fellow-men. 
Our loving hearts, burning with summer fire, 
Will cast a glow upon their pallidness 
Our hands will help them, far as servants may ; 
Hands are apostles still to saviour-hearts, 
So we may share their blessedness with them." 

GEORGE MACDONALD. 



APPRECIATIONS 147 



Ellen Thorneycrqft Fowler. 

"In the lives of all of us there are certain 
days which we string upon a thread like 
George Herbert's Sundays and put away in 
memory's jewel-case as permanent possessions 
and treasures : and among such days I count 
all those on which I went to lunch or tea at 
20 Dean's Yard, and those on which Arch- 
deacon and Mrs Wilberforce and later, alas ! 
the Archdeacon without Mrs Wilberforce 
motored down to lunch or tea with us at our 
home at Eltham. I loved them both : and felt 
that the world was the better and the happier 
for their having passed through it. 

" Among his many arresting characteristics, 
I think the one in the Archdeacon that struck 
me most was his intense spirituality. One felt 
that he was one of those rare souls that are 
unaffected by the laws of gravitation, and so 
rise superior to and are untouched by the attrac- 
tions of the earth. I never met anyone who 
made me feel more intensely the reality of the 
[^ things which are unseen. And by this I do 
not mean that he in any way gave the impression 
that he despised ordinary social interests and 
pleasures, or that 'his soul was as a star and 
dwelt apart.' What I mean is, that things 
seen and things unseen seemed to be all alike 
to him that in his eyes that which is temporal 
and that which is eternal were on the same 



148 APPENDIX I 

spiritual plane. One never felt that he turned 
his back upon the world, as did so many of the 
saints of a bygone age : he merely put it in its 
proper place. To me he always appeared a 
perfect type of those who are in the world but 
not of it. One felt that he was a stranger and 
a sojourner here, having his deepest interests 
elsewhere ; but, nevertheless, he was a guest 
whom it was a delight to entertain, and who 
added greatly to the joy of the feasts which he 
adorned during his pilgrimage. He had none 
of the Puritan horror of all things that are 
beautiful and delightful ; but he seemed to 
raise the beauty and delight to a higher plane. 
His immunity from the law of gravitation, 
which prevented his being bound and tied to 
earth, in no wise prevented his visiting it, and 
making his visits sources of pleasure both to 
himself and to those around him : but he could 
rise at will into higher and purer spheres, and 
carry his companions with him. He knew none 
of those terribly distinct dividing-lines which 
hamper so many really good people and limit 
their influence ; none of those relentless label- 
lings of Good and Bad, Eight and Wrong, 
Orthodox and Unorthodox, which make the 
religion of so many seem like an amateur 
photograph taken in too bright a light. Arch- 
deacon Wilberforce had the artistic inward eye 
which can discern faint shades of difference, 
and can mingle and blend apparent opposites ; 
but he also possessed the deep spiritual insight 



APPRECIATIONS 149 

which keeps the soul from being blinded to 
essential and fundamental differences. 

" And this is why he had such an enormous 
influence over young people, and over all who 
are touched with the modern spirit which 
has outgrown the black-and-white amateur- 
photography teaching of our forefathers. He 
understood the longings and the dissatisfac- 
tions of the modern schools of thought, and 
sympathized with them : yet underneath these 
surface feelings he held firm to the Things 
that really matter ; and so he was able to help 
and comfort those struggling souls who had 
outgrown the religion of their childhood, and 
were crying for something new to satisfy their 
spiritual needs. He gave them something new, 
and satisfied them : and then they found that 
what he had given them was nothing new at 
all, but just the old truths adapted to modern 
requirements. 

" He was one of the most sympathetic men I 
ever met ; and therefore he was one of the 
least narrow for narrowness and sympathy are 
rarely combined in the same character? He 
had the gift of putting himself in another's 
place, and looking at things from another's 
point of view : therefore, even if he did not 
agree with that point of view, he always gave 
it its full value. 

" But perhaps one of his greatest charms was 
the fact that his inside and his outside were 
in perfect harmony with each other a some- 



150 APPENDIX I 

what rare combination in this world of 
paradoxes. 

<L" The beauty of his spirit was expressed in 
the beauty of his outward appearance : he 
looked exactly the manner of man that he was. 
One is so accustomed to meet, if not exactly 
* white souls clothed in a satyr's form,' still 
white souls which are garbed in anything but 
becoming bodies and, on the other hand, angel 
forms which clothe souls that are anything but 
white that it is a joy to see anyone whose 
bodily presence is an outward and visible sign 
of the inward and spiritual grace within. 

" I think that all who enjoyed the privilege 
of knowing Archdeacon Wilberforce will feel 
that this world is the darker and the colder 
for his having left it : and that they themselves 
are the better and the wiser for having crossed 
his path before he went." 



APPENDIX II 

AN ORDER FOR ANOINTING THE SICK 

r^ 

PEACE *%* be to this house, and to all that dwell 
therein, in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. 

Then, all kneeling, the Priest shall say, 

WE beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord ; and 
that it may please Thee to visit Thy servant 
with Thy mercy and pity, and to comfort and 
heal him, renewing him in body and in spirit, 
that he may live and praise Thy Name. 
R. We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Lord, have mercy upon us. 
Christ, have mercy upon us. 
Lord, have mercy upon us. 

Let us pray. 

OUR Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed 
be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy 
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive 
us our trespasses, as we forgive them that 

151 X 



152 APPENDIX II 

trespass against us. And lead us not into 
temptation ; but deliver us from evil. For 
Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the 
glory, for ever and ever. 
~R. Amen. 

Then the Priest shall offer this CONFESSION in 
the name of the sick person. 

FATHER ALMIGHTY, Lord of heaven and earth, 
Thy servant humbleth himself' before Thee, 
because of all his sins whatsoever, which he 
hath committed against Thee ever since he was 
born, even unto this day, in thought, in word, 
in will, in act, or in consent. For all his sins 
and transgressions, his iniquities and offences, 
which in Thy grace Thou hast brought to his 
remembrance, he doth abhor himself, and those 
which, through his ignorance or carelessness, 
or the darkness of his heart through sin, he 
remembereth not, but which Thou, O Lord, 
who knowest all secrets, seest that he hath 
committed against Thee, do Thou forgive and 
cleanse him from them all, for Thy mercy's 
sake, O Lord. 
R. Amen. 

The Priest shall rise and lay both his hands on 
the head of the sick person, and say, 

THE Almighty and most merciful Lord God 
grant unto thee full Absolution and Remission 



ORDER FOR ANOINTING 153 

of all thy sins, iniquities, and transgressions ; 
and blot them out for ever. In the Name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost. Amen. 

Then, kneeling, 

LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, pardon and purify 
us Thine unworthy servants, unto whom Thou 
hast committed this ministry of reconciliation ; 
and vouchsafe unto us Thy Holy Spirit, that 
we may love and obey Thee in all things, to 
the glory of Thy Holy Name. 

R. Amen. 

Then the Priest alone shall rise, and repeat the 
APOSTLES' CREED, the sick person repeating 
it after him. 

1 BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker 
of heaven and earth : 

And in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, 
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born 
of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius 
Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried ; He 
descended into Hades; the third day He rose 
again from the dead ; He ascended into heaven, 
And sitteth on the right hand of God the 
Father Almighty ; From thence He shall come 
to judge the quick and the dead. 

I believe in the Holy Ghost; The Holy 
Catholic Church ; The communion of saints ; 



154 APPENDIX II 

The forgiveness of sins ; The resurrection of 
the dead ; And the life everlasting. Amen. 



// the sick person be unable, through weakness, 
to repeat this Creed, the Priest, after reciting 
it, shall ask of him whether he unfeignedly 
believes the same; and receive his assent. 
The Priest shall kneel and proceed: 

O SAVIOUR of the world, who by Thy cross and 
precious blood hast redeemed us ; Save us, and 
help us, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord. 

Let us pray. 

O LORD GOD, who in Thy holy word has taught 
us, that if any be sick he should send for the 
elders of the Church, who shall pray over him, 
anointing him with oil in Thy most holy 
Name ; and that the prayer of faith shall save 
the sick, and Thou wilt raise him up ; and that 
if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven 
him : Look, O Lord, on this Thy servant, who 
calleth upon Thee, and bring up his life again 
from the gates of the grave. Grant that, being 
anointed [according to his desire] by the hands 
of us, Thine unworthy servants, he may be saved 
from his present sickness, and cleansed from 
all infirmity of body and impurity of spirit ; 
that so he may be preserved to Thy Church, 
sanctified and strengthened to do all Thy will, 
during the time which Thou shalt prolong to 



ORDER FOR ANOINTING 155 

him on the earth ; through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. 

JR. Amen. 

Consecration of the Oil 

O THOU, who art from everlasting and to ever- 
lasting, God most Holy, who didst send forth 
Thine Only-begotten Son to heal all manner 
of sicknesses and all manner of diseases, both of 
soul and body; send forth Thy Holy Spirit, 
we beseech Thee, and bless ^ this oil to the 
mystical healing, through Thy divine power, 
of the body and of the soul of this Thy servant : 
that he, being anointed therewith in pursuance 
of Thine ordinance, may be saved from his 
present sickness and may receive remission of 
all his sins, and an inheritance among them that 
are sanctified through faith. Hear us in the 
Name of our Lord Jesus Christ ; to whom, 
with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be glory for 
ever and ever. 

R. Amen. 

Then the Priest shall anoint the sick person with 
the oil on the head or forehead, and, if' the 
sick person request it, also on any part 
affected, and the Priest in charge shall say, 

IN the Name of the Father and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost, we anoint thee with this 
blessed oil ; beseeching the mercy of our Lord 



156 APPENDIX II 

God, that all pain, infirmity, and sickness may 
be expelled from thy body, and that thy soul 
may be delivered from all corruption and power 
of sin. 

Then the Priest shall lay his hands on the head of 
the sick person, and shall continue : 

GOD ALMIGHTY, who by His Son Jesus Christ 
healeth all our sicknesses and forgiveth all our 
sins ; Have mercy upon thee, grant unto thee 
forgiveness of all thy sins, heal thee and deliver 
thee from all infirmity of body and mind, and 
quicken thee through the grace of His Christ. 
J?. Amen. 

Then the other Priests present shall also lay their 
hands on the head of the sick person, and the 
senior Priest shall say, 

ALMIGHTY GOD, the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost, grant unto thee, through His 
holy anointing, and in answer to our prayers, 
to be purified and strengthened by the Holy 
Ghost in soul and spirit, and to be restored to 
perfect soundness in thy body. 
R. Amen. 

Then all shall kneel. 

Let us pray. 

O LORD our GOD, who art the Physician of our 
souls and of our bodies ; who chastenest and 



ORDER FOR ANOINTING 157 

again Thou healest ; We beseech Thee merci- 
fully to look upon Thy servant, who cometh 
unto Thee in Thy holy ordinance, and seeketh 
in faith the blessing of renewed life at Thy 
hands. O Thou who didst hearken unto 
Hezekiah in the affliction of his soul, in the 
hour of approaching death ; who didst send Thy 
Son Jesus Christ to bear our sicknesses and 
carry our sorrows, have mercy upon this Thy 
servant, and give unto him to experience Thy 
healing power and virtue, both in his body 
and in his soul. Into Thy hands we commit 
him; unto Thy gracious mercy and protection 
we commend the keeping of his soul and body, 
as unto a faithful Creator and most merciful 
Saviour. And unto Thee we ascribe all glory, 
unto the Father, unto the Son, and unto 
the Holy Ghost, world without end. 
R. Amen. 

O MOST merciful God, who, according to the 
multitude of Thy mercies dost put away the 
sins of them that truly repent, look upon 
this Thy servant, who most earnestly desireth 
pardon and forgiveness. Renew in him, most 
loving Father, whatsoever hath been decayed 
by his carnal will and frailty ; preserve and 
continue this sick member in the unity of 
Thy holy Church, and strengthen him con- 
tinually with Thy divine and quickening Spirit, 
that he may abide Thy faithful servant unto 
everlasting life: through Jesus Christ our 



158 APPENDIX II 

Lord ; Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, 
O Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, 
One God, world without end. 
R. Amen. 

The Priest shall rise and pronounce over the 
person who has received the anointing, this 
Blessing : 

GOD the Father bless thee, *%* God the Son 
heal thee, God the Holy Ghost sanctify thee, 
restore thy body, save thy soul, shine into 
thy heart. 

The God of peace Himself sanctify thee 
wholly, and preserve thy whole spirit and soul 
and body blameless, unto the coming of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

R. Amen. 

All the holy oil that shall remain after the 
anointing shall be forthwith consumed by 
fire. 



APPENDIX III 

1 Si Peter, ii. 17. 

Honour all men. 
Love the Brotherhood. 
Fear God. 
Honour the king. 

I SUGGEST these four words of command as a 
motto to your distinguished Regiment. Their 
tone of military authority, their soldierly brevity, 
make them obviously appropriate to present cir- 
cumstances. The four propositions included are : 

The dignity of humanity. 
The value of esprit-de-corps. 
The profound necessity for God 
The divine authority for loyalty. 

Great is the change that has "passed o'er 
the spirit of our dream " since I last addressed 
your fine corps of citizen soldiery organized 
for home defence. 

You are no longer a volunteer corps. I 
rejoice, however, that you have retained your 
distinctive name of " the Queen's Westminsters." 
You are now part of the Territorial Army 
bearing the official title of "the 16th County 

159 Y 



160 APPENDIX III 

of London Battalion, the London Regiment, 
Queen's Westminster Rifles." 

When I last proposed to you a motto, the 
storm of the Boer War had burst over the nation, 
and heroically did your corps distinguish itself. 
More than nine hundred of you volunteered, at 
considerable sacrifice of employment and family 
convenience, for garrison duty at home. Nine 
officers and two hundred men volunteered for 
active service and nobly sustained the honour 
of the corps. At Jacobsdal you covered the 
advance and earned the warm praise of the 
General commanding the Brigade. Three of 
your officers and one sergeant were recom- 
mended for permanent commissions for gallant 
conduct in the field, and you may be justly 
proud of your share of the praise of Lord 
Roberts in his despatch from the Modder River 
on February 11, 1900, in which he says : " I 
have no finer and keener material under my com- 
mand than that which has been enrolled in the 
ranks of the volunteers from the City of London." 

That sanguinary struggle, in which you 
bore so heroic a part, provided a lesson both 
to England and to Europe ; the nation realized 
herself, and the highest qualities of our national 
character were elicited. No sacrifice was too 
great to make for England's safety and England's 
honour. Class distinctions vanished ; men at 
one extremity of the social scale unmurmuringly 
served as privates, shoulder to shoulder with 
men at the other extremity. Mothers, wives, 



A SERMON ON WAR 161 

sisters, lovers, sent their dearest to peril and 
to death. The national sentiment was : My 
country first. And the same spirit is animating 
the nation now. 

The glorious deeds of heroism in the field, 
in which you citizen soldiers vied with the 
Regulars, filled England with admiration, and 
convinced us that we still possess the finest 
soldiers in the world ; whilst the fortitude and 
unselfishness of the wounded raised the national 
standard of pluck and endurance, and proved 
to us that the profession of arms is no hindrance 
to the formation of the noblest traits of Christian 
character. Moreover, under the strain that then 
came upon England, the Empire realized itself. 
That which in the year of the Diamond Jubilee 
was sentimentally ideal, became historically 
real ; and though Imperialism may be ridiculed 
by the irresponsible frivolity of the " Little 
Englander," let it be recognised the Empire 
spells Peace, in a sense undreamt of by Napoleon 
the Third who invented the phrase, and now 
to be learnt by the modern Napoleon who has 
plunged Europe into war. 

The Spirit of Imperialism is now so realized 
by the millions who speak the English tongue, 
that the remotest Colony is prepared to reach 
forth an armed hand to the little island whence 
it sprang, with the declaration " Whoso toucheth 
you, toucheth the apple of my eye." 

It is therefore with a new sense of apprecia- 
tion that we civilians welcome here to-day this 



162 APPENDIX III 

fine Regiment of the Territorial Army, about 
to fight for English hearths and homes, and 
your recognized value as our guarantee of 
national impregnability, until England boldly 
adopts the one only national safeguard of 
universal compulsory military service for home 
defence, accentuates your responsibility and 
the importance of the four apostolic words of 
command which I have quoted. 

And, first, " HONOUR ALL MEN." Recognize 
the dignity of humanity. Despise no man, 
whether he be friend or enemy. Man in his 
inmost, deepest being is the highest self- 
utterance of God. Man, in the truest sense, 
is the Eternal Thought of God embodied. 
There is a spirit in man, and this Spirit is a 
ray of the Creator's Life uttered into flesh. 
The divine image may be marred, the divine 
likeness lost, it is part of the predestined 
purpose that we should be "made subject to 
vanity, not willingly," but the relationship 
remains ; elementally and eternally, God and 
man are inseverable. I press this word of 
command, because it is the basis for unfaltering 
assurance amidst the struggles, failures, dis- 
appointments of this passing perishing existence. 
Because the non-realization of it retards the 
purpose of God. Because the worst evils which 
degrade humanity would pass away before its 
recognition. Because the inexhaustible and 
ultimately effectual remedy for human depravity 
is the realization of the central indwelling 



A SERMON ON WAR 163 

immortal divine sonship in man. Obviously, 
when this high and true conception of the 
dignity of man is realized, it will ultimately 
obliterate war, and, in the meanwhile, every 
recognition of it softens international irritations, 
rebukes unreasonable jealousies, extinguishes 
vindictive passions, and mitigates the horrors 
inseparable even from the most righteous war. 
There is such a thing as a righteous war. 
If ever there was a righteous war, it is our 
present conflict with Germany. We are forced 
to fight, as the Prime Minister said, "to 
fulfil a solemn international obligation and to 
vindicate the principle that small nationalities 
are not to be crushed." The war to which you 
are called is a direct co-operation with the spirit 
of evolution which advances and educates 
humanity. And the heroes who will lay down 
their lives, in simple obedience to the call of 
duty, are, in the inwardness of things, carrying 
out, as instruments, like Joshua's army of old, 
the purpose of the Ruler of the universe. It 
may sound like a contradiction in terms, but 
in such a struggle as that before us now you 
are positively obeying God by killing men. 

" Honour all men," though, in the process of 
race development, some of them are, and must be 
your deadly enemies. Leave the apparent con- 
tradiction, the puzzle, to its Infinite Author, 
whose inextinguishable purpose will be made 
clear when the fitful fever of this mortal life is 
over and the shadows flee away. 



164 APPENDIX III 

"LovE THE BROTHERHOOD." Accept my 
paraphrase though I acknowledge it is a limita- 
tion. Understand the words "Love the Brother- 
hood " as meaning in your case " Love your 
Regiment." Let each man believe that he 
belongs to the best disciplined, most effective 
Corps of the Territorial Army in England. And 
let him strive to realize the ideal in himself. 

"Love the Brotherhood," in other words, 
swear by your Regiment. Keep its standard 
high, its fame unsullied, and its discipline un- 
broken. Let each man say " The Regiment, 
it is myself," and you will be contributing your 
share, and that no small share, to the " safety, 
honour, and welfare of our Sovereign and his 
dominions." And, in this context, I reverse the 
order of the two last words of command and say 
here " HONOUR THE KING." To emphasize this 
word of command to you is wholly unnecessary. 
Happy is the free, democratic nation that is 
able unreservedly, with its entire heart and 
understanding, to obey this command. To 
honour the King is a spontaneous and irresistible 
impulse to an Englishman. And to those who 
wear his uniform, the name, " The King," repre- 
sents the high-water mark of loyalty, for the 
King is the epitome of the Empire, the embodi- 
ment of all that is included in the word 
Patriotism. 

Finally, " FEAR GOD." It is a brief word of 
command, very easy to utter, but it includes the 
whole mystery of your being. Fear God ! The 



A SERMON ON WAR 165 

religious history of the world has been little else 
than one long wrestle with this word of command, 
" Fear God." The brief injunction is suggestive 
of much mental conflict, of the travail of human 
souls intensely sensitive to the fact of their exist- 
ence, but utterly baffled in their search for a 
solution of the mystery of being. There are, 
and there have been, thousands of such souls. 
In their passionate denial of the miserable and 
imperfect conceptions of the responsible Father 
of humanity forced upon them by rudimentary 
religionists, they have been driven into hostility, 
and execrated as unbelievers, when it was not 
God, but man's false view of God, they were 
rejecting, and when there has been more essential 
reverence in their denial than in the so-called 
" believing " of the orthodox who condemned 
them. 

" Fear God ! " Is the moral nature of man 
capable of this supreme act ? If not, the history 
of man is a mockery, his creation a wrong. God, 
as Infinite Universally diffused Individuality, may 
be beyond full mental conception ; and yet real 
earnest thinking will always find Him. Reason 
explains, infers, combines, argues from what is to 
what must be, and finds God. First, by inference, 
as Leverrier found the planet Neptune. " The 
consciousness of an inscrutable power manifested 
through all phenomena," said Mr Herbert 
Spencer, "has been growing clearer, and must 
eventually be freed from all imperfections ; the 
certainty that such a power exists is the conclu- 



166 APPENDIX III 

sion to which science inevitably arrives." And 
when the inward vision, the instinctive affirma- 
tion of God which is part of the original outfit, 
so to speak, of every man, the faculty of God- 
consciousness which is involved in every soul 
born into the world, takes up, and carries on this 
inference that Mr Spencer calls " the conclusion 
to which science inevitably arrives," a man knows 
that there is an unoriginated, invisible, universal 
Parent-Spirit who is round him, in him, loving 
him, and ever " closer than breathing, nearer 
than hands and feet." 

So the Apostle's most cogent word of com- 
mand is "Fear God," not with timidity, but 
with loving filial reverence. Read Lawrence's 
epitaph : " he feared man so little because he 
feared God so much." Fear God, and the secret 
of the universe is yours. Know that you are 
always in a Presence of Divine Love and you 
will be filled with a sense of rest and security. 
You know, that, in the midst of all perplexities, 
one law is ruling, one love is pulsing, one purpose 
is fulfilling, and " all things are working together 
for ultimate universal good." 

Let this be my farewell message to this fine 
corps on its way to its duty. Fear God, for 
your own sakes, and as a contribution to the 
stability of the commonwealth. There is no 
more splendid specimen of the human race than 
the truly God-fearing man wearing the King's 
uniform. So thought the Duke of Wellington 
when he issued his celebrated General Order, 



A SERMON ON WAR 167 

of July 19, 1848, in which he said "the stronger 
the sense of religion the British soldier possesses, 
the better soldier he is." So thought the gallant 
Lord Airlie, who was shot at the head of the 12th 
Lancers, saving the guns at Diamond Hill. 
Know God ; not only as the Author of the order 
of the universe, riot only as the sovereign disposer 
of the destinies of humanity, but as the indwelling 
life and inspiration of the immortal being of man, 
as the unwearied, compassionate friend of every 
human being, as the Universal Parent-spirit Who 
has been specialized, Incarnated, in the Lord 
Jesus, that we may realize Him, trust Him, and 
give Him love for love. 

And then, death (what we call death, for there 
is no death), whether it meets you on the battle- 
field or elsewhere, is but an incident in an end- 
less human career, for, as Whittier says : 

Beneath the shadow of the Great Protection 

The soul sits hushed and calm. 
Bathed in the peace of that Divine affection 
No fever-heats of life, or dull dejection 

Can work the spirit harm. 

Not any power the Universe can know, 
Can touch the spirit hid with Christ in God. 
For nought that He has made, below, above, 
Can part us from His love. 

Every heart in the Abbey echoes the prayer 

God bless the Queen's Westminsters, collectively 
and individually, may they be calm in danger, 
merciful in victory, glorious in achievement. 
And faithful to God. 



APPENDIX IV 

Beati misericordes, quoniam ipsi misericordiam consequentur. 

I BRING this book to a close with the narration 
of an incident for which I could find no proper 
place in the preceding chapters. It vividly 
illustrates both the tenderness towards misery, 
and the practical helpfulness, which distinguished 
Basil Wilberforce^ and his wife in their ministra- 
tions of mercy. 

In the year 1899 a wretched girl was found 
guilty of poisoning her sister, and was condemned 
to death. Her father, imagining that Wilber- 
force must, in virtue of his position at the 
House of Commons, have special access to the 
Home Secretary, implored him to use his 
influence with a view to obtaining a commuta- 
tion of the sentence. This he did, but the 
application was refused. On the day fixed for 
the execution, Wilberforce and his wife went 
early in the morning to the house in north 
London where the girl's parents lived. When 
the fatal hour approached, Wilberforce, kneeling 
in the midst of the weeping family, conducted a 
service of intercession for the departing spirit. 

168 



BEATI MISERICORDES 169 

When the clock told the mourners that all was 
over, he urged them to seek balm for their 
wounded hearts where he himself, in moments of 
sorrow, had so often found it amid the sights 
and sounds of nature. He sent them, from 
the noisy and unsympathetic surroundings of 
a squalid home, to spend the day in Epping 
Forest. He made it pecuniarily possible for 
them all to forgo the day's work ; and Mrs 
Wilberforce had brought with her a hamper of 
food, so that they might be able to spend the 
sad hours in undisturbed retirement. 

This incident, perhaps small in itself, is 
worthy of record, because it exemplifies, better 
than any elaborate panegyric, the character and 
life of those who figure in it. "The growing 
good of the world is partly dependent on 
unhistoric acts." 1 

G. W. E. R. 

1 George Eliot. 



INDEX 



Aberdeen, George, 4th Earl of, 26 
Ainger, Rev. A. C., Master of 

the Temple, 102 
Albert, H.R.H. Prince, 3 
Anointing the sick with oil, 

revival of the practice, 117-9 ; 

Order for, 151-8 
Apostles' Creed, paraphrase of, 

113-5 

Armenians, persecution of the, 102 
Arnold, Matthew, on the speeches 

of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, 

110 



Bradley, Dean, 25 note 

Bright, Rt. Hon. John, letter 
from, 77-9 

Brighton, 140 

Broadlands, 62; Conferences at, 
63-5 

Browne, Rt Rev. Edward Harold, 
Bishop of Ely, appointed Bishop 
of Winchester, 44 note; recon- 
secrates St Mary's, Southamp- 
ton, 46 

Burials Bill, 79 

Butt, C. P., 91 



B 



Babbacombe Cliff, 86 

Benson, Father, 47 

Black, Father, 47 

" Blue Cross Guild," founded, 51 ; 
branch at St John's, 101 

Body, Canon George, mission at 
St Mary's, Southampton, 46, 
61 ; at the Broadlands Confer- 
ence, 64 

Bompas, H. M., candidate for 
Southampton, 80 

Booth, Richard, "Blue Ribbon 
Army," 51 

Boscombe, 127 

Boyd- Carpenter, Right Rev. 
William, Bishop of Ripon, at 
the Broadlands Conference, 64 
171 



Calcutta, Temperance Meeting 

at, 92 
Calthorpe, George, 3rd Lord, 

sponsor to Basil Wilberforce, 8 
Campbell, Rev. R. J., 66 
Canada, 91 
Carey, Dr, Vicar of St Paul's, 

Southampton, 31 
Carter, Rev. W. A., 7 
Charles, Mrs, at the Broadlands 

Conference, 64 
Chipping Norton, ordination at, 

23 
Chope, Rev. R. R., Vicar of St 

Augustine's, on the appointment 

of Basil Wilberforce to St 

Mary's, 33 
Clark, Sir Andrew, on the illness 

of Basil Wilberforce, 85, 91 



172 



INDEX 



Clewer Sisters retire from St 
John's, 100 

Clifford, Rt. Rev. Alfred, Bishop 
of Lucknow, 92 

Clifford, Edward, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 

Confession, views on, 47 

Corbet, Rev. R. W., at the 
Broadlands Conference, 64 ; 
founds a ' Society of the Holy 
Spirit, for study, converse, and 
devotion," 67 

Cowper, Rt. Hon. William, 62; 
assumes the name of Temple, 
62; raised to the peerage, 62. 
See Mount Temple 

Cowper-Temple, Mrs, 63 

Cuddesdon, 22 



Day, Rev. Russell, 7 

Dean's Yard, discovery of fres- 
coes, 99 

Drunkenness, evils of, 50 ; crusade 
against, 51 



E 



Edward VII., King, preparations 
for his coronation, 107 ; illness, 
108 ; coronation, 109 note 

Eliot, George, extract from, 169 

Eton, 7 

Exeter College, Oxford, 10 



Farnham Castle, 29 note, 42 note, 
127 

Farquhar, J. W., religious views, 
70; The Gospel of Divine 
Humanity, 71 ; papers on the 
Philosophy of Religion, 71 

Farrar, Dr, Eternal Hope, 68, 70; 
appointed Dean of Canterbury, 
102 



Farrer, Sir Thomas, 44 

Felkin, Hon. Mrs Alfred, 143. 

See Fowler 
Folkestone, 128 
Forbes, Rt. Rev. A. P., Bishop 

of Brechin, 46 
Fowler, Ellen Thorneycroft, 143 ; 

tribute to Basil Wilberforce, 

147-50 
Fraser, Rev. James, Vicar of 

Cholderton, 9 
Freemasons' Lodge at Oxford, 14 

note 
Furse, Archdeacon, 97, 107 



George V., King, coronation, 109 
note 

Giles, Alfred, candidate for South- 
ampton, 80 

Gladstone, Rt Hon. W. E., 
sons, 15 ; friendship with 
Samuel Wilberforce, 26; dis- 
establishment of the Irish 
Church, 27 ; Prime Minister, 27, 
96 ; conversion to Home Rule, 
81; offers Basil Wilberforce 
the Canonry of Westminster, 
96 ; letter to him, 97 ; illness and 
death, 106 ; lying-in-state, 106 

Gladstone, Mrs, death, 106 note 

Graffham, 9 

Gully, Rt. Hon. W. C., Speaker, 
appoints Basil Wilberforce his 
Chaplain, 103. See Selby 

Gurney, Rev. Alfred, Vicar of 
St Barnabas, 61 ; at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 

Gurney, Rt. Hon. Russell, at the 
Broadlands Conference, 64 ; 
death, 80 



H 



Hammersley, Rev. Arthur, 12 
Harcourt, William Vernon-, 16 



INDEX 



173 



Ha warden, 15 

Hayter, Mrs Owen, letters from 
Basil Wilberforce, 131-4 

Hewett, Sir Prescott, 91 

Hopkins, Ellice, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 

Horsley, Sir Victor, 102 

Hoskyns, Rev. B. G., Curate of 
St Mary's, Southampton, 41 



I 



Ignatius, Father, 66 
India, 92 

Ireland, Home Rule, 82 note 
Irish Church, disestablishment 
of, 27 



Jukes, Rev. Andrew, at the 
Broadlands Conference, 64 ; 
urges Basil Wilberforce to 
publish his addresses, 69 



Langford. Capt. Thomas Nether- 
ton, 17 
Lascelles, Rev, Rowley, 11 ; 

tribute to Basil Wilberforce, 

143 

Lavington, estate of, 7 note 
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, temperance 

meetings, 60 
Leighton, Rev. Francis Knyvett, 

Warden of All Souls College, 17 
Liddon, Rev. H. P., 28; Canon 

of St Paul's, 58 
Lightfoot, Rt. Rev. J. B., 

Bishop of Durham, on the use 

of unfermented wine, 56 
Lister, Sir Joseph, 85 
Local Veto Bill, 105 
Lovett, Rev. Canon, Rector of St 

Mary's, on the influence of 

Basil Wilberforce, 58 
Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. W., 

Speaker, reappoints Basil 

Wilberforce his Chaplain, 105 

note 
Lyttelton, Hon. Spencer, Private 

Secretary to Mr Gladstone, 97 

note 



Keith-Falconer, Hon. Ion, at the 
Broadlands Conference, 64 

Kennedy, Rev. E. H., 23 note; 
Vicar of Holy Trinity, 137 

Kennedy, Mrs E. H., 23 note, 137 

King, Rt. Rev. Edward, Bishop 
of Lincoln, letter of congratula- 
tion on the engagement of Basil 
Wilberforce, 19-21; Vicar of 
Cuddesdon, 24 

Kingsley, Rev. Charles, preaches 
at St Mary's, 38 



Langford, Caroline Charlotte 
Jane, engagement, 17; char- 
acteristics, 18 ; marriage, 22. 
See Wilberforce 



M 



Macdonald, George, at the 
Broadlands Conference, 64 

Mallaby, Rev. J. J., on the 
characteristics of Basil Wilber- 
force, 13; on his temperate 
habits, 55 

Manning, Cardinal, letters from, 
48 ; on the use of unfermented 
wine, 57; on Home Rule, 82 
note 

Marsh, Catherine, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 

Maskelyne, J. N., on spiritualism, 
121 

Middleton Stoney, living of, 
28 

Milman, Rt Rev. Robert, Bishop 
of Calcutta, 24 note 



cr MARY'S COLLEGE 



174 



INDEX 



Monod, Theodore, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 

Moorhouse, Right Rev. James, 
Bishop of Manchester, on the 
value of light stimulant, 57 note 

Mount Temple, William, Lord, 
at Broadlands, 62. See Cowper- 
Temple 

N 

Noel, Hon. Roden, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 



Oriel College, Oxford, 11 

Owen, Rev. L. M., tutor to 
Ernest and Basil Wilberforce, 
9 ; testimonial, 10 ; on the 
appointment of Basil Wilber- 
force to St Mary's, 31 



Palmerston, Henry, 3rd Vis- 
count, his home at Broadlands, 
62 

Palmerston, Lady, 62 

Parker, Dr Joseph, 66 

Permissive Bill, 54, 76, 105 

Perrin, Rev. W. W., Curate of 
St Mary's, 41 ; attends his first 
Temperance Meeting, 50 ; signs 
the pledge, 51 ; on the tem- 
perance work of Basil Wilber- 
force, 59-61 ; organization of 
St Mary's, 61 

Philosophy of Religion, Conversa- 
tions on the, 71 

Pusey, Dr, What is of Faith as to 
Everlasting Punishment ? 68 

Pye, Mrs, attack of fever, 2 



Queen's Westminsters," sermon 
addressed to, 138, 159-67 



Radstock, Granville, 3rd Lord, 
at the Broadlands Conference, 
64 ; character, 65 ; religious 
views, 65 ; revival of the 
practice of anointing the sick 
with oil, 117 

Re-incarnation, doctrine of, 122 

Romsey Abbey, 62 

Rosebery, Archibald, 5th Earl 
of, 82 

Ryder, Mrs, sponsor to Basil 
Wilberforce, 3 

Ryle, Right Rev. Bishop, 107 note 



St John the Evangelist, West- 
minster, 100; branch of the 
"Blue Cross Guild" formed 
at, 101 ; congregation, 115 

St Leger, Catherine, 17 

St Mary's, Southampton, 29 ; the 
pulpit, 36, 37 ; improvements, 
37 ; rebuilt, 45 ; mission at, 46, 
61 ; Grave-Font, 46 note; Total 
Abstinence Branch of the 
C.E.T.S. founded, 51 ; organ- 
ization of the Parish, 61 

Sandwich Islands, Queen Emma 
of the, visit to England, 21 ; 
letter to Basil Wilberforce, 21 

Sargent, Caroline, 48 note 

Sargent, Emily, 1. See Wilber- 
force 

Sargent, Rev. John, 2 

Sargent, Mrs, affection for her 
grandchildren, 5 

Sawyer, Sir James, examination 
of Basil Wilberforce, 93 

Seaton, 29 

Selby, William, 1st Viscount, 103 

Sewell, William, tutor of Exeter 
College, 11 

Sick, anointing with oil, revival 
of the practice, 117-9; Order 
for, 151-8 



INDEX 



175 



Shorthouse, J. H., extract from, 
142 

Sludge, Mr, the Medium, 120 

Smith, Pearsall, at the Broadlands 
Conference, 64 

Southampton, Football Club, 36 ; 
St Mary's, 29; improvements, 
37; rebuilt, 45; mission, 46; 
Grave-Font, 46 note; Public 
Houses, number of, 50 

Southsea, St Jude's, 29 

Spiritualism, creed of, 119-22 

Spurgeon, C. H., 66, 145 ; method 
of baptizing, 46 note 

Stael, Madame de, 109; on the 
characteristics of William 
Wilberforce, 110 

Stanton, Arthur, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 

Star Sapphire, The, extract from, 
109-11 

Sterling, Madame Antoinette, at 
the Broadlands Conference, 64 

Street, G. E., report on St Mary's, 
Southampton, 45 

Sumner, Rt. Rev. C. R., Bishop 
of Winchester, resigns the See, 
27; retains Farnham Castle, 
29 note, 42 note 

Sumner, Rev. J. M., on the ap- 
pointment of Basil Wilberforce 
to St Mary's, 30 



Tait, Most Rev. A. C., Archbishop 
of Canterbury, on Samuel 
Wilberforce's influence over 
Lord Aberdeen, 26; preaches 
in St Mary's, 46 ; on the char- 
acteristics of Samuel Wilber- 
force, 110 

Temperance, the cause of, 51 ; 
Mission at Torquay, 52 ; Meet- 
ing at Calcutta, 92 

Temple, Rt. Rev. Frederick, 
Bishop of London, opinion on 
anointing the sick with oil, 118 



Test, river, 62 

Tetley, Archdeacon, on the 
"Convocation Luncheons" at 
Dean's Yard, 107; tribute to 
Basil Wilberforce, 143-6 

Thomson, Most Rev. William, 
Archbishop of York, preaches 
in St Mary's, 46 

Torquay, Temperance Mission 
at, 52 

Trench, Most Rev. R. C., Arch- 
bishop of Dublin, sponsor to 
Basil Wilberforce, 3 ; poem, 3 



U 



United States, 91 

Utterton, Archdeacon, on the ap- 
pointment of Basil Wilberforce 
to St Mary's, 33 



Vivisection, views on, 102 



W 

Wales, H.R.H. Albert Edward, 
Prince of, lays the first stone of 
St Mary's, 45 ; presides at the 
Licensed Victuallers' Associa- 
tion Dinner, 55 

War, sermon on, 138, 159-67 

Ward, Julia, 95, 128 

Warre, Edmond, Provost of Eton, 
24 

Watson, Sir Thomas, President 
of the College of Physicians, 
36 

Way, Albert, 8 

Way, Olivia, sponsor to Basil 
Wilberforce, 3 

Wellesley, Hon. and Very Rev. 
G. V., Dean of Windsor, 55 

Whittier, J. G., lines from, 167 

2 A 



176 



INDEX 



Wilberforce, Albert Basil Orme, 
birth, 2; christened, 2; spon- 
sors, 3 ; illness, 6, 85, 139-41 ; 
at school, 6; Eton, 7; private 
pupil to the Rev. J. Fraser, 9 ; 
Confirmation, 9 ; various tutors, 
9; excursion on Dartmoor, 10 ; 
at Exeter College, 10; love 
for horses, 11 ; frolicsomeness, 
13; heart-attacks from excess 
of smoking, 13 ; sketch of the 
Dons of Exeter, 13 ; joins the 
Freemasons, 14 note ; character- 
istics, 15, 39, 49, 61 ; on taking 
Orders, 17 ; M.A. degree, 17 ; 
engagement, 17 ; marriage, 22 ; 
at Cuddesdon, 23; birth of 
a son, 23; Ordination, 24; 
Domestic Chaplain to his 
father, 24; ordained Priest, 
24; at Seaton, 29; Curate of 
St Jude's, Southsea, 29; ap- 
pointed to St Mary's, South- 
ampton, 29 ; letters of con- 
gratulation, 30-5 ; first sermon 
in St Mary's, 36; religious 

s views, 39, 48, 122-4; appear- 
ance, 39 ; gift of eloquence, 
40, 53, 111 ; unpopularity, 40 ; 
popularity, 41 ; work of re- 
construction, 41 ; assistance of 
his father, 42; grief at his 
death, 44, 125; Honorary 
Canon of Winchester, 44 note; 
views on Confession, 46 ; deter- 
mination that the right should 
prevail, 49; attends his first 
Temperance Meeting, 50 ; signs 
the pledge, 51 ; founds the 
" Blue Cross Guild," 51 ; 
advocacy of teetotalism, 51, 
59 ; Temperance Mission at 
Torquay, 52; indiscreet zeal, 
54-6; influence of the Broad- 
lands Conference, 65, 67; 
relations with Nonconformists, 
66; loyalty to the command 
of the Bishop, 67; " Course 



of Instruction upon the After- 
Death State," 68; invitations 
to a series of Conversations 
on the Philosophy of Religion, 
71 ; political views, 76, 81 ; 
support of Radical candidate, 
80; malady vertigo oculorum, 
84 ; operation, 85 ; at Babba- 
combe Cliff, 86; letter of 
thanksgiving, 86-90; visit to 
the United States and Canada, 
91; to India, 92; attacks of 
bronchial catarrh and emph)'- 
seraa, 92 ; consultation with Sir 
J. Sawyer, 93 ; appointed 
Canon of Westminster, 96; 
letter to Mr Gladstone, 97 ; at 
Dean's Yard, 99 ; discovery of 
frescoes, 99 ; ministry at St 
John's, 100 ; care in Celebrating, 
101 ; hatred of vivisection, 102 ; 
Chaplain to the Speaker, 103, 
105 note; Select Preacher 
before the University of Oxford, 
105; Archdeacon of West- 
minster, 106 ; " Convocation 
Luncheons " 107 ; declines the 
Sub-Deanship, 107 note; at the 
Coronations of King Edward 
VII. and King George V., 109 
note; combination of heredi- 
tary gifts, 111; character of 
his sermons, 112; paraphrase 
of the Apostles' Creed, 113-5 ; 
method of interpretation, 115 ; 
manner to women, 116 ; sym- 
pathy with feminism, 117; use 
of Unction, 119; interest in 
Spiritualism, 120-2 ; on the 
doctrine of Re-incarnation, 122 ; 
affection for his relations, 125 ; 
happy married life, 126 ; death 
of his brother Ernest, 126, 130 ; 
illness and death of his wife, 
128, 129; letters to Mrs O. 
Hayter, 131-4; death of his 
brother Reginald, 134 ; morning 
prayer, 135 ; sermon on the war, 



INDEX 



177 



138, 159-67; death, 142; tri- 
butes to, 143-50 ; ministrations 
of mercy, 168 

Wilberforce, Mrs Basil, at Cud- 
desdon, 22 ; birth of a son, 
23 ; tactful help, 41 ; happy 
married life, 127 ; illness, 128 ; 
death, 129 

Wilberforce, Emily, birth of a 
son, 2 ; death, 2 

Wilberforce, Emily Charlotte, 
attack of fever, 2. See Pye 

Wilberforce, Rt. Rev. Ernest 
Roland, 9 note; at Oxford, 10; 
Vicar of Middle Stoney, 28; 
resigns the living, 28 ; Domestic 
Chaplain to his father, 28 ; ap- 
pointed Bishop of Newcastle, 
96 ; of Chichester, 108 ; death, 
125, 130 

Wilberforce, Mrs Ernest, 93, 128 

Wilberforce, Herbert William, 
R.N., 9 note 

Wilberforce, Brig.-General Her- 
bert William, birth, 23 ; under 
orders for France, 138 ; in 
command of the Queen's Bays, 
139 note; summoned from 
France, 141 ; death of his 
father, 142 

Wilberforce, Isabel Constance, 
birth, 23 note 

WUberforce, Reginald Garton, 

9 note ; death, 134 
Wilberforce, Mrs Reginald, 93, 

134 

Wilberforce, Rt. Rev. Samuel, 
1 ; Archdeacon of Surrey and 



Canon of Winchester, 2 ; death 
of his wife, 2; Chaplain to 
Prince Albert, 3 ; affection for 
his son Basil, 5 ; Dean of West- 
minster and Bishop of Oxford, 
5 note; ubiquity, 6; acquires 
the estate of Lavington, 7 note ; 
at Hawarden, 15 ; friendship 
with Mr Gladstone, 26 ; political 
views, 26 ; appointed Bishop of 
Winchester, 28 ; sermon at St 
Mary's, 37; religious views, 
38 ; sanctions the changes at 
St Mary's, 42; assists in the 
work, 42 ; death, 43 ; memorials 
to, 44 ; characteristics, 110 

Wilberforce, Victor, letter from 
Basil Wilberforce, 126 

Wilberforce, Violet Mary, birth, 
23 note. See Kennedy 

Wilberforce, William, 1; char- 
acteristics, 110 

Wilkinson, Bishop, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 

Williams, Rev. George, on the 
appointment of Basil Wilber- 
force to St Mary's, 31 

Woodford, Rt. Rev. J. R., at 
Cuddesdon, 23; Chaplain to 
the Bishop of Winchester, 43 ; 
Bishop of Ely, 43 note 



Yonge, Charlotte, at the Broad- 
lands Conference, 64 



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